Text: Matthew 2:1-12
In my adult life I have been fortunate enough to have visited six foreign countries: Jamaica, Haiti, Cuba, Russia, the Republic of Georgia, and England. In March, I will make a visit to our sister partnership in Nicaragua. On each of the six trips I have taken to other countries, part of the preparation has been deciding on what gifts I would take to those who would serve as my hosts. Over the years, I have learned just how important this ritual of traveling with gifts is when visiting foreign places. In fact, when I went to Vladivostok to get Nora, the suitcase carrying the gifts I would leave for the orphanage and the people coordinating her adoption was larger than the one carrying my clothes and other essentials. While I have never traveled with gold, frankincense, and myrrh, being a good Southerner, I have taken North Carolina jams and jellies and other tasty Southern delights to the people who would welcome me into their country. I imagine the good people in Tbilisi are still eating strawberry jam and North Carolina peanuts. It has also been my practice, when traveling to distant countries, to travel with a few extra gifts for those unexpected stops and stays—another good Southern practice. Handkerchiefs and scarves don’t take up much space in one’s suitcase.