As I’ve mentioned before, essential oils are nothing new. They have been used for centuries, no millennia, and were highly valued and sought after in the ancient world. Today, let’s take a look at the two oils mentioned in the Christmas story, just in time to celebrate this week!
The first oil we’ll discuss is Frankincense. Many people know of it from the Christmas story. It is referenced in throughout Scripture as well. In fact, it’s mentioned 52 time in the Bible!
(Exodus 30:34, Numbers 5:15, 1 Chronicles 9:29, Song of Solomon 3:6, 4:6, 4:14, Matthew 2:11, Revelation 18:13 are just a few of the references)
Frankincense was so valuable that it was considered a treasure, one worthy of a king. “And going into the house they [the magi] saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh.” Matthew 2:11
Frankincense is steam distilled from the gum/resin of the Boswellia tree. The Boswellia tree must be 40 years old to extract the resin, which in Biblical times was considered to be a generation. You can see the Boswellia tree in the picture here and the resin coming from the bark in the other photo.
Frankincense has an earthy, woodsy, warm, balsamic aroma. It is very strong and comforting. In fact, while working on this I had the bottle open on my desk. The scent from the bottle overpowered the oil I had diffusing nearby.
There are many uses for Frankincense essential oil. In fact, it is considered to be one of the most universal and versatile essential oils. Many love to have a bottle of Frankincense nearby at all times. It is great for skin care, I add it to my DIY nighttime face serum and is a key ingredient in Young Living’s Boswellia Face Cream. It may support overall health. It can be used for anointing during prayer and the aroma is great for emotional support, grounding and purpose. A sweet friend of mine loves to place a drop in her Bible to be reminded of the gifts that she has been given. You can use it massage after activity or rub it on your chest to support overall wellness. In fact, there is exciting research about the benefit of Frankincense essential oil. One of the best places to find some of this research is on PubMed.Gov.
Myrrh is another oil mentioned in Scripture. You may recognize it from the Christmas story as well, since the Magi gave Jesus gold, Frankincense and Myrrh. Myrrh is mentioned both at the birth and the death of Jesus. Look here at this verse from John:
“Nicodemus also, who earlier had come to Jesus by night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds in weight. So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as is burial custom for the Jews.” – John 19:39-40
(Other references include Genesis 37:35, 43:11; Exodus 30:23; Psalm 45:8; Proverbs 7:17; Song of Solomon 1:13, 3:6, 4:6,14, 5:1,13; Matthew 2:11 and Mark 15:23)
Myrrh is also mentioned in Esther as an important ingredient (important enough to name!) in the beautifying process for the women before being presented to the king.
“Now when the turn came for each young woman to go in to King Ahasuerus, after being twelve months under the regulations for the women, since this was the regular period of beautifying, six months with oil of myrrh and six months with spices and ointments for women.” – Esther 2:12
Myrrh is known as a fragrant resin with an ancient heritage. It is steam distilled from gum/resin. It has a rich, smoky aroma that is soothing, calming and uplifting. The Arabian people have used Myrrh for generations in their skin care.
Myrrh has been used for centuries for its exquisite properties. Many use Myrrh in their oral hygiene routines. It is also high in sesquiterpenes, which may play an important role in human health – look them up! Myrrh is mentioned in Ebers Papyrus, an ancient Egyptian list of recipes and in Hildegard’s Medicine, a compilation of early German health care by the Benedictine herbalist Hildegard of Bingen.
Myrrh and Frankincense are two of my favorite essential oils. Every time I contemplate the Christmas story, study the oils of the Bible or come across an oil mentioned in Scripture I am humbled that God would bring these treasures back into our culture and specifically into my life. I love having something tangible and with a fragrant aroma to relate to the important words of Scripture. The Lord is definitely using these in my life and I know that He desires and will use them in the lives of many others! I’m so excited to hear and see the stories unfold!
See the first post in this series here.