Sharing the Light • Devotion #4: “We Three Kings”

“We Three Kings,” also known as “We Three Kings of Orient Are,” is a Christmas carol that was written by John Henry Hopkins Jr. in 1857 for a Christmas nativity play.

Verse one starts off by acknowledging the gifts they are bringing. It is followed by the chorus (which is sung after every verse) saying:

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.

The original design was to have three different men sing verses two through four emphasizing their different gifts of gold (verse two), frankincense (verse three), and myrrh (verse four).

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 on high.

Myrrh is mine: Its bitter perfume

Breaths a life of gathering gloom.

Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding dying,

Sealed in the stone-cold tomb.

Gifts often play a big role at Christmas time. There may be frustration and extensive work in finding the perfect gift, but once you see a loved one’s sense of amazement and gratitude it is all worth it.

In 2 Corinthians 9:15, we read, “Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!” Christmas is the time to celebrate as God sent His Son who is and brings the gift of salvation. The awe should make us speechless but thankful.

Romans 6:23 explains the situation, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” In and of ourselves, we are in a bad place headed for the worst place. However, Jesus steps in with a gift – it is even called a “free gift.” Did you know Paul uses the phrase “free gift” six times in Romans?

The greatest response to receiving a gift is to express gratitude and then put it to use every day of your life. Gold, frankincense, and myrrh have their place, but nothing beats “eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

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