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Dgreetings » Gift Ideas » Christmas Gifts » Carols »Three Kings Of Orient

Three Kings Of Orient

Rev. John Henry Hopkins wrote the famous American carol, “ We Three Kings Of Orient Are” in 1857. He gained much repute when he wrote this beautiful carol for the General Theological Seminary in New York City. It was a part of their Christmas pageant. The lyrics of We three Kings of Orient are extremly traditional which makes the latter day fashion of referring to the carol, as We 3 Kings of Orient are quite bizarre!
Historical Significance of We Three Kings Of Orient Are
The Christmas Carol We Three Kings of Orient are, tells the story of the three wise men from the East who bought various gifts for baby Jesus. They were also known as the Magi and were royalty, hence the reference to the word king.

An 8th century saint, Bede the Venerable, described the kings this way. “ The first was called Melchior; he was an old man, with white hair and long beard; he offered gold to the Lord as to his king. The second, Gaspar by name, young, beardless, of ruddy hue, offered to Jesus his gift of incense, the homage due to Divinity. The third, of black complexion, with heavy beard, was called Baltasar; the myrrh he held in his hands prefigured the death of the Son of man

The Gifts

There have been many attempts to explain the significance of the gifts that the three wise men brought. While it is simple enough to explain the symbolization of Gold, it is frankincense and myrrh which have, at best an abstract explanation. Most theories are broadly divided into two groups -:
  • The first theory is that they were all gifts that one would ordinarily give to a king, myrrh being used as an anointing oil, frankincense a sought after perfume and gold of course because it was valuable .

  • The other theory states that the gifts were prophetic in nature- Gold symbolized goodwill and kinship on Earth, frankincense denoted divine authority and myrrh was a symbol of death. Sometimes this is described more weakly as gold symbolizing virtue, frankincense symbolizing prayer, and myrrh symbolizing suffering.

It is of course hard to fathom what a poor carpenter and his family would do with this grand gifts, and for this reason the gifts have come under much criticism and comical satire. According to Clarke, the very radical Thomas Woolston once stated that “ if they had brought sugar, soap, and candles they would have acted like wise men ”. The scriptures do not make any further mention of these gifts so no one really knows what happened to them. However, many theories have thrived, for instance according to one belief two thieves stole the gold and were later crucified at Jesus' side. Yet another tale tells of how the gifts were given to Judas to be kept in his care and how he misused them. It has also been heard that the family pawned the expensive gifts to finance their hasty trip to Egypt.

We Three Kings Of Orient Are Lyrics

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.

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, voices raising,
Worshipping God on high.

Myrrh is mine, its bitter perfume
Breathes a 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,
Sounds through the earth and skies.

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