Wednesday, November 30, 2016


In the ancient world, gold, frankincense and myrrh were used as currency and were the three most precious things known to man.  Frankincense and myrrh were the most important ancient fragrances.  Both frankincense and myrrh are saps or resins from plants that are native to Africa & Arabia and came as imports along well established incense routes to the Mediterranean and on throughout Europe.  Both are mentioned numerous times in the Bible and were used primarily to make holy incense to burn in the temple, but they were also included in the gifts the Magi brought to Jesus Christ to celebrate his birth.
Frankincense (Boswellia thurifera), also known as olibanum,  is a fragrant shrub with compound leaves of numerous small leaflets , a twiggy habit and greenish white flowers tipped with pink and have a star-like appearance, which grows in barren soil on rocky hillsides and ravines.  It’s  gummy resin is extracted by making an incision in the bark allowing the droplets to ooze out and form “tears” or small pebbles which are scraped off when dried.  This costly and fragrant white or pale yellow resin is usually burned on charcoal and emits a sweet aromatic smoke, but was also used to make holy ointments.  It was used in all ancient civilizations as medicine having anti-infectious, antiseptic, and sedative properties as well used as a perfume.  Egyptians used frankincense in many daily activities such as fumigation of homes, embalming, and scenting linens with the smoke.  In addition, Egyptian women used charred Frankincense, kohl, to paint their eyelids.
Myrrh (Commiphora myrrha) is a thorny tree which grows 30 feet tall with knotted branches, musty smelling leaves and white flowers which is native to Arabia, Ethiopia and most of northern Africa.  The resin obtained by making cuts in the bark is a yellowish fluid which hardens and changes to dark red-brown or even black “tears “ or  “pearls.”  It has a penetrating sweet woody aroma and a bitter taste.  In addition to its use as incense in religious ceremonies, myrrh was also used in fumigations, embalming, as a healing salve plus as perfume.  Greek soldiers carried myrrh as an essential part of their combat gear due to its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties and use to prevent the spread of gangrene.  It is still used in toothpastes and mouthwashes as well as in salves to promote healing of wounds and to reduce inflammation.

Three Kings Incense
2Tbs frankincense
2Tbs myrrh
1tsp cloves
This mixture can be used two ways:
  • Grind frankincense, myrrh and cloves to a coarse powder in a mortar and pestle. Mix dry ingredients well.  Store in a glass jar with a tight lid away from heat and light for 2 weeks for the fragrances to blend -shake every few days to mix.  Sprinkle this incense over a cube of incense charcoal and burn.
  • Tie the mixture in a cloth with gold ribbons or place in an organza bag.  Hang from the Christmas tree near the lights. The warmth of the lights will release the magical fragrance.
God uses us to spread His knowledge everywhere
like a sweet smelling perfume.
Our offering to God is this:
We are the sweet smell of Christ
among those who are being saved
and among those who are being lo
II Corinthians 2:14b-15

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