Star of Wonder, page 13
* * * * *
“The second gift of the Kings is frankincense.” Suncrest’s cupped palms held several lumps of a brownish-white substance, irregular in shape but none bigger than his two fingertips put together. “Frankincense, carved from a tree, given by a priest to the Holy Child of Bethlehem. Frankincense, which rises up to the Creator of the Universe and carries with it the thoughts and prayers of all humankind.”
“But the second gift of the Sisters is fire.” Duskdance extended her own hands as though she would embrace the brazier, burning merrily before her. “Fire which brings warmth and life, fire which drives away the chill of winter.” She cast a teasing look towards Suncrest. “Fire without which your frankincense will never be pleasing to the Almighty, for how can it lift our thoughts to the heavens if it is not burned? The resin itself has an aroma, true enough, but only by burning can it be shared as widely as such blessings should always be shared.”
“Should I throw away this gift, then?” Suncrest objected. “Cast it into the flames, as if I do not care for it? If I do that, it will be consumed, and I will never have it again.” He paused, looking meditatively at the frankincense. “But that is its proper use, is it not? To be consumed and changed by the fire, and to teach us to likewise change our minds. To burn away what is not good about ourselves, even if that burning hurts, and let what is good drift outward to make the world a better place.”
Carefully, he chose a lump of resin and dropped it into the brazier, choosing a spot to one side where the coals glowed red. A moment later, a dark, smoky scent, invoking the deep silences of the forest where it had been born, rolled forth to surround the clan of Free Sky.
“Will you add more?” Duskdance asked after a few breaths.
“No, not now.” Suncrest slid the rest of the frankincense into the pouch at his waist. “It would only make us sick with too great a scent at once, and perhaps even choke off the fire with the excess of smoke. I will wait and use the rest at another time.”
Duskdance smiled. “As we must with our own gifts, for if we do not strike a balance between our own needs and those of others, we will either give too much and wear ourselves thin to no purpose, or give too little and grow selfish, hoarding up what we have and allowing it to rot before it can be used.” She knelt once more, breathing the aroma of the incense with satisfaction. “So both gifts work together to teach us that when we have given properly of what we have and used it well and wisely, when we have allowed our lives to transform us from what we were into what we ought to be, when the world is the better for us and we for the world—that, in the matters of the spirit, is enough.”