Today’s Reading: Matthew 2: 1-11
The context of this carol centers around the Biblical Magi, who visited Jesus during his Nativity and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh while paying homage to him. Though the event is recounted in the Gospel of Matthew, there are no further details given with regards to their names, the number of Magi that were present or whether they were even royal. Their status as kings from the Orient are legendary and based on tradition. The notion of three kings stems from the fact that there were three separate gifts that were given. -Adapted from Wikipedia
While the Bible does not call them kings, it does tell us that wise men came from the East. (Mathew 2:1 )
Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem…
We wise men from eastern lands are, just doesn’t have the same ring to it.
It was only known as We Three Kings back in my day. And it became a Christmas favorite, watching 3 classmates dress up like “wise men” and croak solos.
1. We three kings of Orient are;
bearing gifts we traverse afar,
field and fountain, moor and mountain,
following yonder star.
O star of wonder,
star of light,
star with royal beauty bright,
westward leading, still proceeding,
guide us to thy perfect light.
2. Born a King on Bethlehem’s plain,
gold I bring to crown him again,
King forever, ceasing never,
over us all to reign.
3. Frankincense to offer have I;
incense owns a Deity nigh;
prayer and praising,
worshiping God on high.
4. Myrrh is mine; its bitter perfume
breathes a life of gathering gloom;
sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying,
sealed in the stone-cold tomb.
5. Glorious now behold him arise;
King and God and sacrifice:
sounds through the earth and skies.
The famous American carol We three Kings of Orient are was written in 1857 by Rev. John Henry Hopkins. The minister is reputed to have written the carol We three Kings of Orient are for the General Theological Seminary in New York City as part of their Christmas pageant. The lyrics of We three Kings of Orient are are extremely traditional which makes the latter day fashion of referring to the carol as We 3 Kings of Orient are – quite bizarre!