Across The Counter
By Martha Williams, El Paso, Texas
Reprinted from January 1990
Somewhere around 4 B.C., the planets Jupiter and Saturn formed a spectacular conjunction, which was interpreted by astronomers as heralding the arrival of a great leader. The Bible tells us wise men from the East (or from the Orient) set out in search of this king. It is not said how many wise men made the journey, but tradition has reduced the number to three.
Actually, there were probably many in the group, but this point is not really important to the context of the story. These men were called Magi, or what we refer to as scholars or educated men, and they were indeed learned and wised. Their position in the community was one of means so they had sufficient money and provisions to make a long journey, which was probably extended into months or perhaps even years.
They were also knowledgeable of the social customs of their times and realized gifts would be in good taste. The gospel of St. Matthews says there were three types of gifts brought by these travelers. To my knowledge these gifts were the ones mentioned as being received by the Virgin Mother for her child.
In the very finest of taste, they selected gifts of elegance-gold, myrrh, and frankincense. Myrrh was an extract from a tree, which was used for perfumery. Frankincense was a white fragrant tree gum which was combined with oil and used for anointing and in sacrifices. Of course we are all familiar with gold and its uses.
We of the jewelry trade should notice none of these gifts were of the practical every-day type of gift and yet they were deemed suitable for presentation to the Divine Son of God.
No further mention is made in the Bible as to how these gifts were disposed of, or if they were used by the Holy Family during the childhood years of Jesus.
Gold is mentioned many times throughout the Holy Scripture as having many uses and purposes. It is highly significant however that gold was brought as a gift for our Lord by men of honor and knowledge.
It is first mentioned of the gifts presented and the only gift destined to be lasting and to retain the original value of the day and time. It is interesting to consider the very gold contained in the casks of the wise men who visited Jesus so many years ago could well be contained in a piece of fine gold jewelry you are selling in your well-stocked jewelry store. This gold might have been re-cycled many times and brought pride and happiness to countless owners throughout the centuries of use and re-use.
What happened to the gifts of the wise men is not really important. We should think rather in terms of what we sell today. The gift of gold jewelry will last for a lifetime and go on to be passed down to generations to come.
When you show fine gold jewelry in your store, you need not be ashamed of the commodity you offer because it is stated in the Holy Bible that gold was a gift suitable for the Son of God and by comparison gold jewelry is a suitable gift for anyone young or old. Gold is a gift of luxury and love which more than justifies the higher price one must be expected to pay.
It is well to note the wise men did not bring the Holy Babe livestock, farm implements, furniture or clothing. They brought him gifts of luxury and the highest prized gift offered was the gift of fine gold. So when people talk in terms of giving gifts slanted towards practicality, remind them of the Christmas story and the gift of the Magi who traveled so far from the Orient to worship the newborn King and to bestow upon Him gifts of such high value.
Every sale of gold jewelry made during the Christmas season should encourage a salesperson to stand just a bit higher than a salesperson who sells carpets, pottery, appliances and wearing apparel.
And, if you should encounter a stubborn customer who suggests you go to the Biblical place of eternal punishment because your price of gold items is higher than it was last year, remember in your heart and your sales presentation there is no gift which surpasses the lasting gift of fine gold.
Gold is a personal gift which is worn not only to adorn the receiver, but to reflect the taste of the giver for all to see.
If the gift of gold was considered a suitable gift for presentation to the Son of God, it is certainly equally suitable for the son of a man in this year, 1989.