The crib scene will remain for the first few days of the Epiphany season which began today, the Feast of the Epiphany.
The wise men have been travelling across our mantelpiece through the 12 days of Christmas. They are made of olive wood, so not nearly as colourful as the ones in this fascinating image. Early this morning they arrived to join assorted animals, Mary, Joseph and the Christ child in the centre.
The story of the magi (or wise men) is told in Matthew 2: 1 -12. These mysterious strangers presented expensive gifts to the infant Jesus of gold, frankincense and myrrh, offerings rich in symbolism relating to Jesus' identity and significance.
In his poem 'The Offering' Jeremy Taylor (1613 - 1667) reflects on the wise men's gifts and on what he might offer to Jesus:
They gave to thee
Myrrh, frankincense and gold
But, Lord, with what shall we
Present ourselves before thy majesty,
Whom thou redeemst when we were sold?
We've nothing but ourselves, and scarce that neither;
Vile dirt and clay;
Yet it is soft and may
Accept it, Lord, and say, this thou hadst rather;
Stamp it, and on this sordid metal make
Thy holy image, and it shall outshine
The beauty of the golden mine.
Image Credit: Adoration of the Magi by He, Qi, CC License