Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Wise Gifts From Three Wise Men

This is going to be the first Christmas ever where it’s going to be really really really quiet in my household. I don’t even have a tree this year. I’m known to go all out at this time of year, but this year is going to be the exception. We’ve had quite a rough year and we’re using the break as a breather more like, and maybe reflect on the real meaning of the yuletide season. December is always hectic for me but I’m really appreciating being a spectator, watching everyone go about the rush on the sidelines. It’s actually relaxing.
I made myself Frankincense and Myrrh Essential Oils and I’m giving them as presents to cancer patients as well. The only presents I’m giving out this year. The Three Magis who presented these oils to baby Jesus were truly wise indeed. Biblical scholars, Historians,  and Theologians have varying interpretations on the significance and meaning of the Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh, that were given to Jesus that first Christmas night. 

Matthew 2:11

“And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.” 

The Three Kings knew they were going to see a King and these presents were most probably chosen for their spiritual, symbolic, and practical use. In addition to the honor and status implied by the value of the gifts of the magi, scholars think that these three were chosen for their special spiritual symbolism about Jesus himself—gold, representing his kingship, frankincense, a symbol of his priestly role, and myrrh a prefiguring of his death and embalming, an interpretation made popular in the well-known Christmas carol “We Three Kings.” Gold, because of its value may have been a very practical gift that Mary and Joseph had used to live back then. 
Frankincense trees were considered valuable during ancient times, their location often kept a secret. Egyptians used the oil for incense, perfume, and for rituals. Frankincense is mentioned 50 times in the scriptures. It was used as a cure-all for all diseases, and was used to elevate spiritual consciousness. Frankincense is a milky white resin extracted from species of the genus Boswellia, which thrive in arid, cool areas of the Arabian Peninsula, East Africa, and India. The finest and most aromatic is Boswellia Sacra found in Somalia, Yemen, and Oman.

Myrrh was used as an anointing oil. It is a reddish resin that comes from species of the genus Commiphora. Commiphora Myyrha, a small tree used in the production of Myrrh can be found in Ethiopia, Kenya, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and Somalia. 
These two gifts from nature is now making a big come back. People are now realising its potential to stop Cancer. The best Frankincense and Myrrh come from East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula and for some time the region’s most important commodity. 
Myrrh Tree
During my now relentless researching I’ve seen and heard numerous studies made on Frankincense and Myrrh and all with good results. Among them, a study funded by the government of Oman and conducted by researchers from the University of Leicester here in the UK. They were able to uncover how frankincense may be a safe and effective remedy for ovarian cancer. Frankincense claims as part of its vast nutrient profile a unique compound known as acetyl-11-keto-beta-boswellic acid, or AKBA for short. Scientific tests have determined that AKBA is a sworn enemy of cancer.
Here’s what Kamla Al-Salmani, lead author of the paper covering these findings and a PhD student at the University’s Cancer Studies and Molecular Medicine department, had to say:
“After a year of studying the AKBA compound with ovarian cancer cell lines in vitro, we have been able to show it is effective at killing cancer cells. Frankincense is taken by many people with no known side effects. This finding has enormous potential to be taken to a clinical trial in the future and developed into an additional treatment for ovarian cancer.”
It was also mentioned that it is effective on other cancers as well. In Ty Bollinger’s The Truth About Cancer video, there was a brain cancer patient that got cured on Frankincense oil and diet alone. It is anti-inflammatory, anti-tumoral, immune-stimulant, antidepressant and muscle relaxing. It stimulates the limbic system as well as the hypothalamus, pineal and pituitary glands. It is strongly anti-viral, antioxidant, antifungal, antibacterial, antiseptic and expectorant oil. Frankincense has the ability to relax and revitalize at the same time. Recently, a team of researchers from Johns Hopkins University and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem did a study to see what the effects are of frankincense on the mind. They found that it activated the protein TRPV3 that play a role in our skins’ perception of warmth. On the mind, it has a strong anti-depressant and anxiolytic effect which leaves you feeling relaxed. Frankincense helps your mind to rest and simply perceive the world around it. I’m finding out for myself. 
Myrrh was widely used by the Arabian people not only as an anointing oil, but to support healthy skin and treat wounds. Today it is widely used in toothpastes, aromatherapy, skin care, etc. 
Two primary active compounds found in Myrrh are terpenoids and sesquiterpenes, both has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. Sesquiterpenes specifically has an effect on our emotional centre in the hypothalamus, helping us remain calm and balanced. 
Myrrh has also been found to have anti-cancer benefits. A study found that Myrrh was able to reduce the proliferation or replication of human cancer cells.

The Three Wise Men brought gifts that were practical as well as befitting a King. The Bible does not tell us the exact number of wise men, and they were not present for His birth in a manger as is so often depicted in nativity scenes every December. It was assumed there were three kings because of the three gifts. There goes the Nativity sets you have on display :)
One Christmas back in Vancouver I wanted to incorporate a Nativity Set into my Christmas decorations, something I always had growing up back in Manila. I had a hard time finding one, which came as a shock because isn’t Christmas about this? It was easier to find Rudolph than a Nativity set, seriously. I have seen them in recent years in shops again like Liberty in London, although still rare. So there must be some shift going on when it comes to Christmas, maybe people are trying to make more sense of the holiday and away from the commercialism it has become. I sure hope so. 
This year, just like Jesus, someone (thanks Ish) gifted me with Frankincense and Myrrh straight from the middle east. Anyone who wants to complete the set with Gold, you’re very welcome…. just kidding!

Merry Christmas Everyone, and a Blessed Year ahead!

Matthew 2:1, 11 shows that the young child Jesus was already in a house by the time the wise men visited and offered their gifts. “Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem. … And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.”

The Song of Solomon 3: 6
Who is this that cometh out of the wilderness like pillars of smoke, perfumed with myrrh and frankincense, with all powders of the merchant?

Psalm 45: 8
All thy garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia, out of the ivory palaces, whereby they have made thee glad.

Leviticus 24: 7

And thou shalt put pure frankincense upon each row, that it may be on the bread for a memorial, even an offering made by fire unto the Lord.

Caroline Reyes-Loughrey Photography