On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
When I was a little girl in Cuba our gifts were delivered by the Three Kings on January 6. It puzzled me that we were asked to donate our old toys for the poor. Didn’t the Three Kings bring them their gifts? I asked my father. He explained that the streets in the poor neighborhoods were in too bad a shape and the camels were not able to get through. I quietly accepted his explanation, but never truly believed it. This made it easier for me to believe my neighbor (four years my senior), too eager to burst my bubble, when she told me who really brought the gifts. I don’t remember who else was there at the time of this revelation (perhaps her mother), but somehow I got the message that the Three Kings had indeed brought gifts to Baby Jesus and the tradition was established to commemorate that event.
It made sense, but I was not as naive as I looked. I realized that my siblings were getting less and more practical gifts while I was still getting some pretty nifty toys. I never asked my parents or let them know what I had learned. The year I was eleven I was not home for the Three Kings. I was spending a week with my aunt and uncle and returned home the day after. My mother gave me my gift and said – “You do know about the Three Kings.” I nodded and opened my one and only gift – a blue slip with pink ribbons. It was a sign that I was growing up – those slips were what all teenage girls in the 50’s were wearing. However, my childhood days of dolls and nifty toys were over.