Now here’s a thought about 21th century “Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh”. Phyllis Zagano writes about the gifts of the Holy Spirit in her weekly column and inspired me to think of them as 21st century equivalents of “Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh”. By way of context, she recommends we fill up a box with gifts we offer to ourselves and each other as the body of Christ today. And gifts we can also pray for in these times of stress!

The list is ancient, but it’s good.

  • First, dust off wisdom. That would be insight into to what is true. It is our personal and innate discernment, that little fraud detector that mirrors the really real. Pack it in the box first, and don’t forget it’s there, supporting everything else.
  • Then find understanding amidst the rubble of the year gone past. It soothes speculations about all sorts of facts. It also helps us give the other guy a break. It’s all about relationships, both spatial and emotional.
  • Next comes good counsel given freely. Too often, we forget good advice, especially when one passion or another blocks our memories. There is what is right. There is what is wrong. Good counsel from without seeds good counsel’s growth within.
  • You’ll need to include fortitude in the new year’s box. That means risk-taking. That means doing the right thing. That means, sometimes, losing work or friends or position. It has sharp edges, but it will fit.
  • Then, put a dose of knowledge in there. Some people think knowledge is only facts, and only what can be proven scientifically is true. But there are so many intangible things we know or should know, things we believe or should believe. Pack them in there tightly. Don’t let them rattle around too much.
  • If you are very brave, you’ll add piety before you close the lid. That’s reverence for God and God’s creation. It does not mean being “pious.” It means agreeing in humility that you are not in charge of everything.
  • Then wrap it all with what the Medievalists called fear of the Lord. Please don’t picture some old guy sitting on a cloud. Just live in wonder and awe of all that is and all that might someday be. Make it the first thing you see when you come upon your box of newness; make it the first thing you enjoy each day.

Image courtesy of Homeless in America

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