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 plain,
Gold I bring to crown Him again,
King for ever, 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
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;
Heav’n sings Hallelujah:
Hallelujah the earth replies.
Written by: John Henry Hopkins, Jr. – 1863
We all love gifts. For all occasions. Giving and Receiving.
Birthdays, Weddings, Anniversaries, Christmas
And, so did these 3 kings … but why?
We really don’t know much about the magi as they were called, or wise men, or kings from afar. We don’t know their names or exactly where they came from. What we can surmise is they were men of God with special knowledge that gave them the foresight to seek out the Messiah, Jesus, the King.
We claim there to be 3, because we only know of 3 gifts that were brought. But there could have been several more, as many in those days travelled across desert and sand in caravans. It’s part of the Christmas story that is filled with a sense of mystery and wonder. Why in particular 3 gentile kings, aristocrats, from afar should want to find Jesus, with the same purpose the shepherds came…to Worship Him!
We also know from our bibles, that the wise men came in the presence of Herod the king of Judea, asking him where they might find this Child born King of the Jews, which seemed to be news to Herod that there could possibly be another king to over throw him. Being the not so nice king, he wanted all the children under a certain age to be killed, in hopes that he would get this one Child, Jesus.
But God was directing the path of the wise men to Jesus, as He provided a star for them to follow, which would lead them to their desired objective.
We are given the idea, through songs and pictures, that Jesus was a babe in a manger, but by the time the star had shown the wise men where Jesus was, He was actually a young Child of about 1 1/2 years old.
But the most important part of the story is the 3 Gifts that were brought for Jesus,
those being the Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh,
and why these particular items.
Gift 1 : Gold, we know is one of the most treasured metals. Nothing can destroy it, it won’t rust away like iron or tin. Gold is a royal gift – befitting a King. A baby was born in a feed trough to peasant parents, and 3 wealthy men gave Him a gift fit for a king. We know Jesus is our King of Kings.
Gift 2 : Frankincense, was presented in a bottle. Frankincense is a resin from a tree sacred in Arabia and Ethiopia, and only a few holy people were even allowed to go near the tree. It takes a long time to harvest it, but when all is said and done, it is a perfume of heavenly proportions. This was a gift fit for a priest, a sinless Priest, who would become sin for us, that we would know His forgiveness and righteousness. Frankincense was that sweet smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God. We know that when Jesus died, was buried and rose on the 3rd day, God was well pleased of His Son, our Savior, Jesus.
Gift 3 : Myrrh, was the gift of bitter spice. Eventually this gift was to be used again later in the life of Jesus, at His crucifixion a bitter drink mixed with myrrh was offered to Him and at His burial, where it was spread between the layers of cloth in the tomb. It was given to someone who was born with a particular purpose of dying. The wise men were saying with the gift of myrrh, that Jesus was a Savior, our Savior, who came to die for us.
These 3 gifts were very purposeful gifts for Jesus, but another gift to Him from the wise men was their time. They spent who knows how long on the road to find Him. They surely had other things to do, being men of such stature.
Shouldn’t this make us more thoughtful, that the more time we spend with Jesus and for Jesus, is a gift from us that gives Him pleasure. Perhaps this new year of 2021 could be a year of spending more time with Him. If you do not know Jesus personally, I invite you to pray this prayer to Him and start on a new footing for 2021. Or if you do know Jesus but have slipped away from being close to Him, renew your strength in Him.