‘Year by year the Head of our Nation still offers his gold and frankincense and myrrh at Westminster Abbey with the Wise Men on their Feast. We, who worship with them today, what about ours?
GOLD – our property. All that is within our power to detach and give away if we so desire. Yes, we give a very fair amount. How much do we miss it?... By what standards do we measure our giving? The Christ-Child lies there in the manger, his little hands stretched out to the world of men. In hard times older people sometimes go very short for the sake of the children. “Whatever happens the child must not suffer!” There is the Holy Child, and these are hard times, and He has great need… If you would worship with the Wise Men, will you as you kneel with them overhaul the question of your giving as you look at the Christ-Child, “Who for us men, and for our salvation came down from heaven,” with His hands stretched out to you and to the other Wise Men for your gifts, and with the joy of seeing you there shining in His eyes?
FRANKINCENSE – the outward symbol of worship. Get the idea of worship right. It is an act of the will, placing yourself in your right relationship with God with reference to His worth and yours. Sometimes you make the act privately, sometimes all together. There is He, and there are you. And the incense goes up before Him as you are consumed for Him, and all that you have in you is offered to Him in sweetness. I have no doubt you do this privately. Do you do it together as often as might be?... [D]ay by day, if you will, you have the inestimable privilege of joining in that offering… The Holy Child will grow up, and He will offer Himself to the Father for the sins of men – the medicine that will save a ruined race. And to you day by day He gives the privilege of joining in that offering. How often do you use it? As you kneel with the other Wise Men today at the manger, will you open your casket of incense, and see whether it is anything like full?
MYRRH – the spices to embalm our bodies. Our mortal bodies, with all they know and do and suffer. And especially suffering, and its end, death. Do we offer our sufferings with His? Or do we just almost continually grumble? And have we ever sought suffering so as to be nearer Him, as kings and prelates in bygone days wore their hairshirts under all the pomp? As we kneel there with the other Wise Men, do we offer this gift which is within the reach of all? It may be mental suffering, or it may be acute bodily pain. The Christ-Child grew to bear them all – forsaken by those He loved, denied by one, betrayed by another – and the bodily pain, the whip falling on His Sacred Body, the nails, the crown of thorns. If we offer our myrrh we are indeed at one with the Holy Child.
…Gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. All three, if we would really be one with the Holy Child before Christmas passes this year again’.
from a sermon preached, 1939, by Dom Bernard Clements OSB, 1882-1942
(Vicar of All Saints, Margaret Street, London, 1934-1942)
O God, who by the leading of a star didst manifest thy Only Begotten Son to the Gentiles: mercifully grant that we, who know thee now by faith, may be led onward through this earthly life, until we see the vision of thy heavenly glory; through the same Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen. - Divine Worship: The Missal.
Fr Lee Kenyon