“We Three Kings of Orient Are:” A Devotional Through Song

Saturday Morning Devotional – 6th in the Song Series

I know Christmas is over, but let’s continue looking at the lyrics of one more popular Christmas carol. The 6th and last song in the series is “We Three Kings of Orient Are.” Let’s see how we can apply it to the New Year.

We Three Kings of Orient Are - A Devotional through song

​”We Three Kings of Orient Are” is a common Christmas carol. However, I like to think of it more as a New Year’s or an Epiphany carol. Let’s take a look.

A Brief History of “We Three Kings of Orient Are”

John Henry Hopkins Jr. was an Episcopalian minister in the 1800s. He took a careful look at the meaning and symbolism of the gifts the three wise men brought to Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew. He shares each in the song:

  • The Gifts of Gold – This was a gift for a king. (Jesus Christ is our King.)
  • The Gift of Frankincense – This was given to the priests back then for the purpose of worship. (He is our Priest.)
  • The Gift of Myrrh – This bitter perfume was used as a spice for burial. (He is our Sacrifice.)
three kings bearing gifts to Jesus

Lyrics of “We Three Kings of Orient Are”

The words of this hymn are public domain, so I will share all of them. As we look at these verses, I don’t think you could sing it and leave out any of the verses. You need them all to complete the story.

We Three Kings of Orient Are

(Verse 1)

We three kings of orient are
Bearing gifts we traverse afar
Field and fountain
Moor and mountain
Following yonder star

(Verse 2)

The three kings giving gold to Jesus

Born a King on Bethlehem’s plain
Gold I bring to crown Him again
King for ever, ceasing never
Over us all to reign

(Verse 3)

Frankincense to offer have I
Incense owns a Deity nigh
Prayer and praising
All men raising
Worship Him, God Most High

(Verse 4)

Myrrh is mine
It’s bitter perfume breathes
A life of gathering gloom
Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying
Sealed in the stone-cold tomb

(Verse 5)

Glorious now behold Him arise
King and God and Sacrifice
Al-le-lu-ia, al-le-lu-ia
Heaven to earth replies


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

The Three Kings giving gifts to Jesus

Favorite Lyrics from “We Three Kings of Orient Are”

I love the way this song covers all the gifts mentioned in the Bible that the three wise men gave to Jesus. Coming from this aspect, these are some of my favorite lyrics in the song:

  • 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
  • Myrrh is mine –
    Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying
    Sealed in the stone-cold tomb

“Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the newborn King of the Jews? We saw His star as it rose, and we have come to worship Him.”
Matthew 2:1-2

Listen to “We Three Kings of Orient Are”

Click here to listen to “We Three Kings of Orient Are.”

Beautiful Book

Many years ago, I bought a book called, Mary’s Treasure Box. Almost every time I hear about the wise men and their gifts, I think about this little children’s book. I think it may be out of print, but I found a few copies on Amazon if you want to read it.

Mary's Treasure Box book

This is a beautiful book of a grandmother sharing the Biblical story with her granddaughter. While telling the story, she shares the symbolism for each of the gifts the wise men brought: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

Related Posts

Lessons from the Christmas Wise Men

This is an old song, but it is very applicable. Listen to Larnelle Harris sing “All Year Long.” This is the song that inspired me many years ago to leave out one of my small Nativity scenes all year long. 😊

Marble Nativity scene

As we go throughout the new year, let’s try to keep our King, Priest, and Sacrifice at the forefront of our hearts and minds. May this song be a reminder to worship Him all year long.

What other songs put you in a spirit of worship? Please share!

Until next week…

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“Let the whole earth shout to the Lord; be jubilant, shout for joy, and sing.” Psalms 98:4

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  1. Such a fun series and also kind of eye opening that we usually only sing the first and last stanzas. It’s like we’re leaving out all the good stuff. Thankfully, these posts are a great reminder to take in the entire song. It makes such a difference. Hugs, CoCo

    1. Isn’t that funny! I wonder why we ever started just singing part of the songs. Very interesting! Thanks so much for all of your encouragement! You have no idea how much it means!

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