Although we generally understand that the magi (the “wise men”) of Matthew 2 were not present on the actual night of Jesus’ birth, they are an important part of the Christmas story. We don’t know much about them, including how many of them there were. But we know they brought at least three gifts to the house where the holy family was staying in Bethlehem some months after Jesus was born: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
Frankincense was an import from Africa to Asia and the Middle East, and it comes from a small tree of the species Boswellia. Reuters reported this week that the trees are declining in population at an alarming rate. I found this article interesting and thought I would share it with the group. I was put on to the story through the Bible History Daily blog, where there is a good photo of this tree. If you’ve never seen a frankincense tree, have a look!