A new look at the Three Kings' gifts and how we can give to God

What We Can Give to God–

Let’s delve into the heartwarming tradition of Three Kings Day (observed on January 6) and explore the profound question: How do we know what we can give to God? This time of year, as we celebrate the gifts of the Magi and their symbolic meanings, is perfect for reflecting on our own offerings of faith and intention.

Whether you’re familiar with Three Kings Day or are just discovering it, join me in uncovering the rich lessons this holiday holds. Together, we’ll explore how these timeless teachings can guide us in nurturing our children’s faith and shaping our approach to giving with purpose and heart. Let’s step out on a journey of intentional parenting and spiritual growth, inspired by the wise men’s journey to the Christ child.

three kings bringing a gift to baby Jesus with Mary and Joseph by the manger

Not the Way We Imagined the Three Kings

It is kind of a nativity myth that the Three Kings came to see the new born baby Jesus. It makes our stable scene complete to surround with shepherds on one side and kings on the other. However, the true story is that the kings probably didn’t make their appearance until baby Jesus was closer to 18 months old. I have often pictured this change in the story with some intrigue and humor. After all, think of Christmas with your child at this age.

They are rarely captivated by the gift and respond with total adoration to the item your mother-in-law may have chosen with great care. Instead, they look at the box, and enjoy the box more than the gift. They act a bit distracted or disappointed if it is not a toy, or just fail to take appropriate notice as they are too busy messing around and getting into things. Imagine Mary trying to get the busy toddler, Jesus, to slow down and appreciate the gold, frankincense, and myrrh being offered. While she surely understood the value and prestige of such gifts, I’m thinking that Jesus may not have!

real gold frankincense and myrrh to give to God

What About These Gifts

Anyway, just a lighter look through the eyes of a mom on that significant moment in the Christmas story. Now, onto the meaning of these gifts! The Bible simply tells of the kings coming and bringing gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And often they are said so quickly in a threesome that they sound like just one really amazing gift!

There are some different theories on the gifts of the kings. Some believe that the items brought were simply gifts that were historically given to any king born in that time, and that the kings did not give them with any symbolism attached or intended. Some people feel that there are lines drawn from the prophecy of the Christ child’s birth and life to the meanings of the different gifts. While I have never claimed to be a theologian, I still think that thinking through the significance, whether established later or intended at the time is quite fascinating.

The Significance of the Gifts

Let’s take a moment to consider some of these meanings. Obviously, these gifts were very expensive, but the truth is, it wasn’t just about value. They actually had some further significance and meaning. And you might find some of these insights interesting as I did!


Gold was a gift that was considered worthy of a king. The pharoahs and rulers of that time left great reminders that this was a prized posession for buildings, treasures, and even idols. Biblical and secular kings alike valued this metal. Gold is closely associated with spiritual, heavenly or divine love. It is an article that keeps its enduring value. Its use was significant in the sacred articles of the Tabernacle and Holy City. It may symbolize the eternal and valuable spiritual love we are to offer God.


Frankincense comes from the resins of trees. It is quite expensive and a very strong aroma. An aromatic oil that has been used for sacred oils and perfumes for years. Those using essential oils today know that it is considered the king of all oils. This sacred incense was significant in placement to the ark of the covenant, as well as offerings. It was used for making incense, an ingredient in sacrifices, and perfume. It was primarily used in worship for God. The word used for this sacred incense or “air” in the original Bible times related to the spiritual truth or teachings of Christ.


Myrrh comes from the gum of a commiphora myrrh plan. Like frankincense, it is very valued just not quite as expensive. In old testament time, this aromatic resin has been used for sacred oils, perfumes, anesthetic, burial embalming, anointing oil, to deodorize clothes,cosmetics for women, medicinal purposes, and even burial. It had significant meaning in the anointing of sacred items as well as those in service to God. In the New Testament, it was primarily associated with death and of course the burial of Jesus.

The Symbolism of the Gifts

Obviously, the three kings gave highly prized gifts to Jesus. Steeped in symbolism and not just material value, we see that they really are significant gifts. And they really can help us keep focus as we head into a new year and choose how we will give to God this coming year.

Using this information, we can understand the symbolism to bring together the idea that the gifts of the three kings were a gift of spiritual love we are to offer Jesus our king (gold), gifts of our devotion and worship to the spiritual truths and teachings of Christ (frankincense), and gifts of our willingness to serve and live according to the truth Jesus teaches (myrrh).

I especially like the way one Bible teacher, Dr. J. Vernon McGee commented about the three gifts given:

  • Gold speaks of His birth. He is born a King.
  • Frankincense speaks of the fragrance of His life.
  • Myrrh speaks of His death.
  • All of this is indicated in the gifts that were brought to Him at His first coming.

mom and child doing heart signal with hands together for love

Lee Woofenden1, summed it up well too. As the wise men did, we can give:

  • the gift of gold=offering the love in our hearts to Jesus (our king)
  • the gift of frankincense =offering the truth in our minds to Jesus (as we live our life)
  • the gift of myrrh = offering the service of our hands to Jesus (until our time on Earth is done–death)

Truly, whether the meaning of these gifts was originally intended, or if it just seemed to fall together with neat symbolism and differing human perspectives after the fact, doesn’t matter to me. I find this a fascinating way to look at the way we give in the modern day to God. And personally, it challenges me to consider some new perspectives or choices. Maybe I can encourage you to do the same.

What can I bring the King this coming year?How We Can Give to God

As a parent, this strikes us at two different levels. The first level is to figure out how we might give to God. What areas of our life are we able to offer ourselves to God whether in devoted love or worship, in growing in our knowledge of Him and sharing that with others, or giving and serving?

Questions to ask ourselves:

  1. What do I do well?
  2. How might I use that skill to help bring others to Jesus?
  3. What comes easy for me?
  4. Is there a way that I might honor God in using that skill?
  5. Is there is skill or talent I have that might be a way to worship or praise God?
  6. What would it take to give God more time this year?
  7. In what ways might I consider serving to bring God honor or glory?
  8. Is there a way I might help others grow in their knowledge of Him this year?
  9. How could I make God the priority this year?
  10. How might I choose to give God a devoted love this coming year?
  11. What resource has God given me that I might be able to use to bring glory to Him?
  12. In what ways could I grow in learning about God this year?
  13. What would it take to increase my knowledge of God’s truths this year?
  14. What would it look like to give Him a totally devoted heart?

a gift labeled to God from me to show we can give to God

We Can Give to God From the Heart

We might also consider how we relate the story of the Three Kings to our child or family. It might even be exciting to ask your child to do a short skit or puppet show for a little extra fun re-enacting the story! Or try a role-play together.

Just as the kings brought Him a gift, we too can give God gifts. God loves gifts that come from a loving and devoted heart. He doesn’t care about the amount, but rather the heart that it is given with. Just as the woman in the Bible who gave all she had (but it was only a meager amount)…God simply loves the willing and cheerful giver.

What is your Gift?

Questions to ask your child:

  1. What do you do really well?
  2. How might you do that to please God?
  3. Is there anything that you do that makes God happy?
  4. How can you do more of that this year?
  5. How can you learn more about Jesus this year?
  6. How can you give Jesus the gift of your time?
  7. How can you grow in loving Jesus?
  8. How does giving and serving others make God happy?
  9. How can you do more of that this year?
  10. What would be your best gift to give God?
  11. Is there a way our family might give and serve this year that would bring God glory?

paper with what we can give to God and lists of things like willing heart, hands, feet

Finding Focus in How We Can Give to God

I challenge you to think about how you might search your heart, think through your talents and gifts, and decide how you might do things differently this year. I also encourage you to help lead and guide your child to think of ways that they might give to God as well.

It’s easy as we turn the calendar page to “want to do things differently” or “choose to make changes” and then we just get lost in the shuffle of putting away Christmas decorations and all the new material good collected over the holidays. That’s one reason I really like observing the Three Kings Day! It helps bring us full circle, as advent in preparation of His birth does, to the true reason for the season. So once the stockings are stowed with care, and the tree has been stashed away for another year…we get one more significant reminder of Him. We can head into the year ahead with our focus on Him!

What Can I give God example of free resource

We Can Give to God in How We Parent

Not sure if you’ve heard about it or not, but the newly-introduced Ultimate Parenting Planner can help you put these thoughts into action. In fact, there is a particular area devoted to giving and serving each month of the year! Additionally, there is a character trait focus each month which is a great springboard for finding ways to give back to God in the things we do and say.

You may just realize that your purposeful and intention parenting and focus on nurturing your child in a godly life is how you choose to give to God this coming year. So you might find those ideas helpful in doing that! I know….for many of you it just happened…<<insert sigh>>

You are already feeling worn thin by the busyness of your family schedule, weary from all that your highly sensitive child needs, and unsure you can handle one more thing. I get it! I’ve been there. That’s why I’ve made this super simple…super focused…and super easy for any family to follow! You can choose to do the basic ideas given or decide you want to do more or add more…but I just give you a simple and eays-to-follow plan!

You were chosen to parent this child to become all God created Him to be…and I want to help you do that well!

mom and child doing heart signal with hands together for love

🌟 A Priceless Companion for Your Parenting Adventure 🌟

Welcome to a Brighter Parenting Future!

Are you looking to kickstart your parenting journey with renewed intention and connection in the coming year? I’ve got the perfect solution for you!

As we bid farewell to last year and eagerly step into this year, I’m excited to present a resource sparkling with heart and purpose.

ultimate parenting planner pages

Discover the Magic of the Ultimate Parenting Planner

Let’s get started on a transformative journey with a planner that’s more than just calendar pages, rather…some inspiration! It’s your personal guide to a year filled with growth, connection, and simple joyous moments in your family life.

Unveiling the Wonders Within–

  • Faith and Character: Dive each month into character-building and faith-enriching activities. These sessions are designed to bring vital family values to the forefront, fostering a nurturing environment to discuss and embody them together. Perhaps one of these monthly focuses might resonate deeply as your personal word for the year!
  • Family Time: Learn innovative ways to enrich your family time, from focused activities to joyous celebrations. Embrace these opportunities to forge lasting memories and strengthen the bond that unites your family.
  • The Gift of Giving: Amidst life’s hustle, this section serves as a heartfelt reminder of the importance of giving back. Engage in meaningful family projects or individual acts of kindness, creating ripples of positive impact in the lives of others and enriching your own.
  • Individual Growth: Recognizing the essence of self-care for parents, this planner champions your personal development. It’s a call to rediscover your passions, rejuvenate your spirit, and journey towards personal fulfillment.
  • Special Ideas for Special Moments: Each month, be surprised with unique suggestions, ranging from participating in awareness themes to fun-filled family activities. It’s all about adding a dash of excitement and discovery to your family’s routine and using those moments for learning and connection.

online parent support group as jami sits with hearts and a gift to signify gift to your family

It’s More Than a Planner –

A Supportive Community Awaits!

Step beyond the planner into a dynamic community. Join us in the Parenting With Personality Facebook group for interactive live sessions, monthly themes, and a wealth of resources. It’s your space to connect, share experiences, and grow alongside like-minded parents. And what’s more – it’s the perfect place to be encouraged as you integrate your chosen word for the year into your parenting journey!

Your Personal Invitation to a Year of Intentional Parenting 🌟🤗

Are you ready to step into a year filled with purposeful parenting, creativity, and fun? Let the Ultimate Parenting Planner be your trusty sidekick. I can’t wait to hear your stories and insights!

Let’s get started on this remarkable journey together and make this year an unforgettable chapter in our parenting story with the Ultimate Parenting Planner!

💖✨ Sending you love and excitement for the adventures that await!

jami kirkbride

For those wanting the expanded 72-page Ultimate Parenting Planner, I’d love to help you walk the journey of new perspectives and new beginnings this year! And if you feel like a personal call to talk through a plan would be helpful…jump on into my schedule and check availability for a discovery call! We can discuss some ideas for you!

P.S. Just for fun, here is a video to enjoy! You have to hear the Frankincense part! LOL! 🥰🤣😂



2 https://www.neverthirsty.org/bible-qa/qa-archives/question/what-did-gold-frankincense-and-myrrh-represent/

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