In the Ancient World there was the belief that God would send a Savior, a divine king, to rescue the world. This belief was held not only by Jews but pagans as well. Persians had long held the belief in a Savior king. And, that may be why the Magi were constantly on the watch for celestial signs that would be heralds of the arrival of the great God king. 2,000 years ago a very unusual display in the heavens caught the eyes of the Magi. An unknown star of incredible beauty and brilliance appeared. This was the signal that the Savior had arrived. Some scientists think that the star was a comet passing through the skies. A large comet would indeed send off a lot of light. And, it might explain the movement of the star.
In examining the gifts the Magi brought to the cave in Bethlehem, we must marvel at the faith of these royal men. They knew who this Savior was. The gift of gold is typically given to a king. Kings and queens usually wear gold crowns and gold scepters and maces. Their garments often are interwoven with gold. Gold is a precious metal that signifies royalty. The child Jesus, in their estimation, is a king. The gift of frankincense is used for liturgical worship and offered only to a god. The Jewish priests would offer incense continually in the tabernacle where the ark of the covenant was housed or the great Temple. Recall that many Christians died during the Roman persecutions for their refusal to offer incense to the Roman Emperor. Why? Because then they would be acknowledging that Caesar was a divine being. There was only one divine being - The God of Jesus Christ. The gift of myrrh was used for anointing the bodies of those who had died. Jews customarily placed large amounts of fragrant oil all over the corpse in preparation for burial. On the day of the Resurrection, the women were going to the tomb with large amounts of myrrh to re-anoint the body of Jesus. The gift of myrrh represents that the child in Bethlehem would be King, God and Suffering Messiah.
Jesus marveled at the faith of the pagans during his earthly ministry. He would say that their faith was much greater than the faith of the Jews. Perhaps, we who were baptized and brought up in the Catholic Church from our infancy should reflect upon the vitality and enthusiasm of our Catholic neophytes who are on fire with the Holy Spirit.