A woman at church yesterday said that when she was a kid, she thought that the three Kings brought the baby Gold, Frankincense, and Mirth. I've been smiling ever since.
Those three universal beings (in the folk tradition from which manger scenes are made, they are an elderly European, a middle aged Oriental, and a young African) on their strange journey to bow down before a baby and bring gifts, were supposed to have brought three items of financial worth, gold, a precious incense used in religious ritual and worship, and a precious spice used in, of all things, embalming. Some make something of the latter; a gift for a person whose life was destined to be short.
I'd rather universalize these gifts, making them symbolic of what we need for a good life; a modicum of financial resources, the spiritual resources symbolized by Frankincense, and the emotional and relational resources symbolized by mirth.
Food and fire, hope and spirit, love and community. May your Holiday season be blessed with Gold, Frankincense, and Mirth.