The Season of Myrrh

It is a story often repeated this time of year. The three magi come from the east, following a star to find the Christ child. When they find Him they worship Him and present three gifts – gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

Theologians and Bible scholars have offered ideas about the symbolic meaning of these gifts. A common suggestion is that gold represented the kingship and divinity of Jesus, frankincense symbolized His priestly role, and myrrh is a foretelling of His pain and suffering. One of the uses of myrrh in that day was for embalming the dead.

Many come to this season of religious celebration and New Year festivity with deep sorrow from the losses they have experienced. The beauty of gold and the lovely aroma of frankincense is experienced in the heartache of myrrh.

Be present to celebration as you are able. Honor the sorrow you feel as you miss your loved one. Reach out to those you know who are having a season with myrrh and acknowledge their sorrow.

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Dr. Patrick O’Malley is a psychotherapist in Fort Worth, Texas, specializing in grief counseling. For 35 years, he has counseled individuals, couples and families in his private practice. Dr. O'Malley has recently published a book, "Getting Grief Right" about grief recovery.

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