Due to recent events, and multiple projects, I haven’t been able to write in awhile. But Christmas is almost here, and so I was asked to write an article for my parish newsletter. Below is a new version of an old post I made, in light of the Star of Christmas. I hope you enjoy it.
Frankincense and Myrrh:
Fit for a Mouse, Fit for a King
The original news story appeared in the Kansas City Star back in September. Apparently, some scientists with too much time on their hands have discovered that mice love frankincense. In their study, mice showed significant decreased anxiety and a general tendency toward uplifted spirits. I am certainly not an expert on the emotional range or psychological states of mice, but I can tell you that none of this is news to anyone, except scientists. Frankincense has always been a precious gift to humanity from God. Its anti-septic qualities as well as its effect on human emotions and human pain, has been well documented throughout history.
It has often been speculated that the Magi brought frankincense and myrrh to Christ in order to purify the area. He was, after all, born in a stable and one can only imagine the germ population that surrounded both Child and Mother. Naturally, this would not have affected Him, and by extension, His Mother, but of course, the Magi could not have known that at the time.
The frankincense that was offered to our Lord, was most likely, but cannot be proven to be the “black frankincense” that comes only from Ethiopia, also known as the “cradle of humanity”.
Our modern noses have been trained by Glade™, Re-nuzit ™ and Elizabeth Taylor ™. Clove studded oranges and cinnamon rolls smell fantastic but such “Christmas” scents are simply the result of successful marketing campaigns. They do not represent the “smell of Christmas” any more than Martha Stewart does.
This Nativity let us enter in to the world of the Magi, and the mystery of a true Christmas scent. When we burn frankincense and myrrh on Nativity Night, we can experience the fragrance of the purified Stable and Manger where our Lord was born. Let our hearts, where He is to be born every year, be purified as well.
I have donated some packets of Ethiopian frankincense and myrrh to our parish bookstore, The Forerunner. All monies from these sales will benefit Forerunner Books. Please support your parish bookstore and in doing so, enter in to the Stable of Bethlehem, where even a mouse can answer a Heavenly call to Hope.
The Christmas Mice by Wendell Minor