December 23, 2005

King and God and Sacrifice

The past few years I’ve been really getting into the deeper lyrics of old Christmas carols. Back in the days when people didn’t have all the modern distractions that we have, they had deep thoughts, and they wrote wonderful, rich lyrics. I’ll post another tomorrow, but today is We Three Kings, written by John H. Hopkins Jr. in 1857 for a Christmas pageant at the General Theological Seminary in New York City.

The words that struck me as I listened to our adult choir sing Christmas songs last Sunday was the phrase, “King and God and Sacrifice…” See, I am not one to really pay attention to detail, so it’s taken me….uh, well, a lot of years….to really hear the meanings of some of these songs. I love how this song includes the forthcoming reason for Christ’s coming….his sacrificial death.

(This picture, by the way, looks exactly like the Judean Wilderness when we saw it on our Israel trip. The guide told us people would travel, just like this picture, in the crevasses between the harsh hills of desert.)

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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