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A Bitter Perfume


“Myrrh is mine, its bitter perfume Breathes a life of gathering gloom: Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying, Sealed in stone cold tomb…” - “We Three Kings of Orient Are” by John H. Hopkins, Jr.


I have always loved the carol “We Three Kings of Orient Are.” The words of each and every verse are powerful, expanding our understanding of who Christ is.


But I admit, my voice always catches as I sing the fourth verse, noted above. Its poignancy throbs through every word, carrying a blast of bone-chilling air from a rock-hewn tomb, and the memory of a bloody cross.


And that is a good thing to remember. Amidst the peppermint candy canes, the sweet scent of the evergreens, the piles of gifts, and the joyful comings and goings of friends and family, take a moment to remember. Remember why this celebration is happening. The Incarnation, the Birth, the Noel was just the beginning. Jesus was born as a babe only so that he could die as a man on a cross.


  • Do you ever have trouble connecting the Babe in the manger with the Savior on the cross? If so, why?

  • How would you explain Christmas to someone who didn’t understand the significance of the holiday?

  • What physical object can you use to help remind you during the Christmas season of why Jesus came? (i.e., a thorn, a nail, a rough piece of wood)

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