We Three Kings

November 30, 2007 at 11:02 am Leave a comment

This traditional Christmas carol was written in 1857 by Rev. John Henry Hopkins, Jr., as part of a Christmas pageant.  It tells the Biblical story of the visit of the wise men, or “magi,” to Bethlehem in search of the child Jesus (as originally told in Matthew 2:1-12).

In the Christian faith, the three gifts of the magi have strong traditional significance.  The gold represents Jesus’ kingship, not as an earthly king but as a heavenly one.  The incense frankincense represents Jesus’ divinity; the smoke is often seen as symbolic of prayers rising to heaven.  Myrrh was commonly used as both a perfume and an embalming ointment, representing Jesus’ role as Savior, and his death and subsequent resurrection.

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 night
Star with royal beauty bright
Westward leading, still proceeding
Guide us to thy Perfect Light

Born a King on Bethlehem’s plain
Gold I bring to crown Him again
King forever, ceasing never
Over us all to reign

Frankincense to offer have I
Incense owns a Deity nigh
Prayer and praising, all men raising
Worship Him, God most high

Myrrh is mine, its bitter perfume
Breathes of life of gathering gloom
Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying
Sealed in the stone-cold tomb

Glorious now, behold Him arise
King and God and Sacrifice
Alleluia, alleluia
Earth to heav’n replies


Here is a fun “claymation” version of this classic carol:


Entry filed under: Christian, Christmas, Traditional Songs.

Up On the Housetop We Wish You a Merry Christmas

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