Search

Finding The Happy

Looking for joy in all the right places

Category

Motherhood

The home of precious memories, the celebration of our family’s milestones

Gold, frankincense, and myrrh

“When the wise men saw the star, they were filled with joy. They came to the house where the child was and saw him with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshipped him. They opened their gifts and gave him treasures of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.”

Until the sermon on Sunday, I’d never really wondered about the significance of the gifts that the Wise Men brought.

(Growing up in a Fundy church, we seemed more focused on the number of Wise Men than the reason behind their gifts. The thinking went that traditional and commercial imagery usually depicts three wise men on donkeys when in actual fact, the gospels are silent on the actual number of men who showed up. When brought up, it was a lesson in my church about not presuming or adding to Scripture what God is silent about. I’d argue that there are more interesting lessons to glean from these ancient baby gifts, honestly.)

Interestingly, there are several possibilities for the three gifts. It could just be the “done thing” at the time — you meet a new baby, you give money and spices. Other reasons include the medicinal properties behind the spices as a symbolic and practical gift for the longevity of both mother and child, and the practical thing of giving money to a pair of refugees on the run from Mad King Herod. (Note to self: best to steer clear of Herod as a baby name.) Yet another interpretation is that the three were standard gifts for kings and deities in the ancient world.

In fact, these same three items were apparently among the gifts, recorded in ancient inscriptions, that King Seleucus II Callinicus offered to the god Apollo at the temple in Miletus in 243 B.C.E. The Book of Isaiah, when describing Jerusalem’s glorious restoration, tells of nations and kings who will come and “bring gold and frankincense and shall proclaim the praise of the Lord” (Isaiah 60:6).

Why Did the Magi Bring Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh? https://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/people-cultures-in-the-bible/jesus-historical-jesus/why-did-the-magi-bring-gold-frankincense-and-myrrh/

Also, check out this nerd chart:

On a separate but related note, hearing a reflection on the birth of Christ from a woman brings a slightly different flavour, I thought. As women, and particularly women who’ve been through childbirth, there is a kind of empathy in the retelling. Coincidentally (or not), there was a dedication on the day where a family brought their very smiley baby to the front, and the church pledged in unison to support this family as they bring up this child in the Lord.

It was wonderful to see both men and women contributing to the service, something they probably take for granted by now, and yet so empowering for someone like me to watch. Yes, there really is a sense of completeness when there are literally different voices heard from the front — men, women, and children. As grand as the building was (it’s a historical building with the stained glass windows and the vaulted high ceiling), somehow the fellowship was cosy, the music and singing loud and sincere (oh the lyrics! some of them were just breathtaking), their minds set on higher things. Of course, every church will have its problems and I am coming in cold as an observer, newly burnt and bruised from current troubles. “Anything but this, anywhere but here” is almost my desperate plea for a better 2019.

Happiness is

An impromptu date night with the hubbs.

And framing matters.


There’s a lot of sound and fury lately in Australia about Same-Sex Marriage, Safe Schools, and gender education. On a personal front, it’s been an especially sobering year as I reflect on my own relationship with God, and contemplate deeply how God designed humankind and what that means for me, a woman made in His image. I took a deep dive into Genesis and I’m still confronted by the overarching narrative of how God and Christ treat women. Growing up, I thought I understood His design but the closer I’ve been looking at this, the more troubled I am by what I’m finding.

And I’ve been equal parts unsettled and unbelievably excited.

Thing is, I’m now looking at my daughter and my son, and the responsibility of what lies ahead looms ever larger. Do I want my daughter to grow up learning what I learnt about womanhood? Or my son, for that matter? I thought I believed in the equality of the sexes, but now I’m wondering if I didn’t grow up buying into a form of second-class citizenship in this world that isn’t just wrong, but heretical.

And I don’t want that for my daughter. And I don’t want that for my son.

Words have power, and our words matter because they articulate ideas, and all ideas have consequences. I spoke very briefly — and perhaps not articulately enough — yesterday about how words frame issues. We know that instinctively, and we’re confronted by examples every time. Someone I was chatting to online yesterday gave a common example. When a woman is out front organising people in an assertive way, is she being bossy? Is she behaving like a man? Or is she leading people? How we use words shape attitudes, and they teach both our young men and women a lot about what is “allowed” and what “isn’t” for each of them.

And we often clip both their wings in the process.

This stuff matters. It goes right to the core of things. And I want the right things for my children.

Sharing books from my childhood 

Arddun’s getting ready for Bigger School – transitioning next year from preschool to Kindy. And I suddenly got nostalgic about school and the books I used to read. 

Found these online and decided to buy them. This was the edition I had growing up – same illustrations, same paper smell. The Naughtiest Girl in the School was my second Enid Blyton and Big Girl book that I read on my own. (My first was The Three Golliwogs but even then, the font was too big for me to feel like I was reading a properly grown-up book.) 

I’m planning to read a chapter a night with Arddun. Hope she loves it as much as I did. 

Why I’ve started a Facebook Page

I’ve been blogging semi-regularly since I came to Canberra 13 years ago. To me, it has always been about keeping in touch with family and friends in Singapore and around the globe – an extension of my Facebook profile, really. A means of chronicling our moments and milestones, of keeping a loose scrapbook of my life in general and my children’s lives in particular.

And I dare say that for the most part, my blog will continue in that vein. I think having the children has sharpened the focus of my writing, and has in turn brought me a small but loyal following of readers within my family and friends. Thank you for keeping in touch all these years and for delighting in my delights. I love writing these open letters to you.

Continue reading “Why I’ve started a Facebook Page”

Yelled I to Atticus this morning:

STOP SNORTING YOUR PEAR CHIPS!

Let me explain.

Which isn’t too far off from what Arddun’s done before.

When your daughter gets called a Bitch

It happened when I least expected it. We were at a small indoor playground at the local mall we frequent. We had just finished lunch. I had groceries to grab. Atticus was due for a nap but he had been hankering for the playground, so there we were.

Continue reading “When your daughter gets called a Bitch”

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑