In the Gospel of St Matthew we hear about the Magi, the wise men. Each part of the story has a symbolic meaning as well as a historic reality.
Following a star, these Magi would have been stargazers, without a telescope; astrologers, rather than astronomers; pagans – Zoroastrians – from the land we know as Iraq today. They could tell from the stars that something of great significance had happened. They were guided by their own truths to the Truth revealed in the birth of Jesus.
The wise men come from traditions based science and on human reasoning – and yet it leads them to the faith based tradition that is Judaism.
Their gifts of frankincense, gold and myrrh tell us a lot about the Infant Jesus.
Gold was a measure of royal ascent. Incense is burned in the temple in the presence of the Divine – the Magi come and they worship him. Myrrh is used to anoint the dead – for the newly born child who is going to die for his people.
Mary, who treasures all these things and carries them in her heart, realises much of what is happening.