Tag Archives: Frankincense

We Three Kings

We three kings of Orient are
Bearing gifts we traverse afar
Field and fountain, moor and mountain
Following yonder star

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
Pray’r 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

O Star of wonder, star of night
Star with royal beauty bright
Westward leading, still proceeding
Guide us to Thy perfect light

Despite the opening misnomer (We three magi just doesn’t cut it…) and the speculation about the number of of them (we are never told, we are only told they brought three gifts), this song is a tremendous compilation of the Christmas story merged with the ultimate purpose of Christ’s incarnation:  Kingdom, death/sacrifice, resurrection.

The mention of the gifts is a connection to the Old Testament and the practices of bringing gifts to a king by visiting kings.  In Psalm 72 we read of the kings of Sheba and Seba bringing gifts to the righteous King of Israel:

Let the kings of Tarshish and of the islands bring presents;
The kings of Sheba and Seba offer gifts.
And let all kings bow down before him,
All nations serve him,
So may he live, and may the gold of Sheba be given to him

In Isaiah 60:

Arise shine; for your light has come…
The wealth of nations will come to you
All those from Sheba will come
They will bring gold and frankincense,
And will bear good news of the praises of the Lord.

These gifts signify the mission of the magi:  They have come to worship the King.

I love this video, recording is not the best but you can tell it was good.  My favorite part is that the singers names are Amr Abdel Salam, Hany Fakhry and Sherif El Dabaa…close to the heritage of the original (probably Persian) magi.

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