The star which the three kings had seen was formed by the angels, in which they saw a vision of a Virgin and a Child with a cross. This star which was also visible during the day became their guide towards Bethlehem until they reached the Cave of Nativity where they found the infant King. They left their camels outside upon entering the grotto. There they found the child in His mother’s arms. They laid prostrate while giving praises to the Child Jesus, the King of kings.
According to the Holy Catholic Tradition, the names of the three kings were Gaspar, Balthazar and Melchor. They reigned the lands which are known today as Iran and Iraq. King Gaspar, who was the youngest and had a fair complexion, was the first one to give his gift. He offered gold to the Lord Jesus. Next was King Balthazar, who had a dark complexion and he offered incense. Lastly, King Melchor, the oldest and had a white complexion, offered myrrh to the Infant King. At every gift offered made by the kings, the Child Jesus smiled at them and also the Virgin Mary was very thankful to the generosity that they have shown. On their return journey to their homeland, God warned them through dreams that they should not go back to Herod, so they changed their route home (Mt. 2:12).
Amidst the beautiful parable of the first Christmas, there are meaningful messages we ought to know. He was born to this world like the coming of a thief in the night, in a time that many were not expecting. That will also be the case in His Second Coming. Although a King (which is really true since the Virgin Mary and St. Joseph are descendants of King David) he chose to be born in a humble cave. The kind of wood that the Lord has chosen to be His manger was also the same type of wood that He had chosen to be His cross.
The cow and ass that entered the cave to give Him heat against the cold night, symbolizes faith and humility. The cow/ox is used in cultivating the field so that the soil will become fertile. It is liken to our faith which needed to be cultivated in order to become fertile. The ass, due to its size, is usually being used by travelers when the terrain is narrow, rocky and full of thorns. That is also what we should be if we want to follow the Lord because the road which leads to Heaven is narrow, rocky and full of thorns. We must experience pains and sufferings in order for us to follow Him; and we can only do this if we have humility within us. The camels that the three kings have brought with them could not enter the cave due to its size. If it is pride that reigns in us, we will be like the camels which only belong in an open place like the hot desert.
The poor and less fortunate are very dear to the Our Lord. The humble shepherds were the first visitors of the Holy Family which only shows that the word of Jesus is true. “How blessed are you who are poor: the Kingdom of God is yours.” (Luke 6:20) But this does not mean that the rich would never see Heaven (in fact, many saints were born from rich families), but like the Lord said that it will be easier for a camel to go though the eye of the needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God. The three kings did not find the Savior at once. They instead needed a star to be their guide. On the other hand, the humble and poor shepherds were told by an angel from Heaven.
The star which was seen by the three kings and in the shape of the cross symbolizes that of Faith, Hope and Charity which points toward the Holy Child in the manger.
The Three Kings represents the races in the world. Their gifts of gold, incense and myrrh tee us what we should offer to the Lord. Gold embodies true Love; incense that of Prayers; and myrrh, that of Sufferings. These are the gifts which we must also offer to Our Lord Jesus in order to please Him. We must have true love in our hearts, offer solemn prayers and accept sufferings wholeheartedly.
During Christmas, it is never important whatever things you will receive. What really matter is what you can give to your fellowmen and to God. Although things like Christmas lights, carols, gifts and delicious foods can add up to the spirit of Christmas, it is more important to welcome the birth of Our Lord Jesus with peace and goodwill in our hearts. Be ready to forgive others and also seek forgiveness for your sins. If we are suffering in our present state, just glance at the manger and remember the Parable of the First Christmas that brought deep faith, true hope and intense charity to all of us.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!