Monday, November 29, 2010

Mystery Solved

I have always thought it a bit odd that the gifts the Three Wise Men chose to bring baby Jesus were gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

Ok. Gold, I get. Always a good gift, gold. Perhaps not immediately useful for a baby, but at least it could be socked away for his college education or used for paying off Roman centurions or something.

But frankincense and myrrh? These do not sound like baby gifts. These sound like two weird uncles. ("Honey, Frankincense and Myrrh are coming over for Christmas dinner. Let's be sure we hide the booze before they get here.")

Turns out frankincense is an aromatic edible tree resin. Myrrh, on the other hand, is tree gum resin that was the principal ingredient in embalming mummies in Ancient Egypt. (Thank you, Wikipedia.)

Wise man gifts = gold, smelly maple syrup, and formaldehyde.
Good work, team.

Maybe next time Mary should consider registering at Babies R Us.

My skepticism of these "gifts" has existed for years. As someone who really loves shopping for gifts and loves even more to give a gift the recipient LOVES, I had decided maybe frankincense and myrrh are what happens when you let men, wise or otherwise, pick out baby gifts.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, I went to Blue Bottle Coffee to pick up some beans for a friend. On their menu was this sweet little loaf of Gingerbread "with frankincense and myrrh". (Why they elected to forgo the gold leaf flakes on top is beyond me, but, hey, I'm not in charge of their baked goods.) Obviously, I could not pass up this chance to experience two out of three Wise Man Gifts at once. Also, I really, really love gingerbread. And I hadn't eaten breakfast.

Clearly, I hated it.

Now I know why they call them the Wise Men.

No comments: