I never really connected with the story of the three kings, or magi, until I began to travel outside the United States. When you consider how difficult it is to travel – even in the 21st century – I think it gives you a greater appreciation for the three kings who made the journey to Bethlehem all those years ago. And if you have ever ridden a camel for longer than 15 minutes you will have even more respect for them!
I learned a lot of interesting things about the three kings. According to Western Christians, their names were Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar. Syrian Christians believe they were named Larvandad, Gushnasaph, and Hormisdas. Ethiopian and Armenian Christians have different names, as well. The magi are widely believed to be Zoroastrian priests from Persia, which is now known as Iran although some Chinese Christians believe they came from China.
We Three Kings
We three kings of Orient are
Bearing gifts we traverse afar.
Field and fountain, moor and mountain,
Following yonder star.
Chorus 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. Chorus
Frankincense to offer have I.
Incense owns a Deity nigh.
Prayer and praising all men raising,
Worship Him, God on high. Chorus
Myrrh is mine: Its bitter perfume
Breaths a life of gathering gloom.
Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding dying,
Sealed in the stone-cold tomb. Chorus
Glorious now behold Him arise,
King and God and Sacrifice.
Sounds through the earth and skies. Chorus