“O star of wonder, star of light,
star with royal beauty bright,
westward leading, still proceeding,
guide us to thy perfect light.”
We Three Kings…. is a well known Christmas carol written by John H. Hopkins Jr. (son of the Episcopalian bishop, and not to be confused with Johns Hopkins a contemporary entrepreneur) in 1857. It was originally written as a song for his nieces’ and nephews’, Christmas pageant and was not actually published for the first time until 1863.
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This song is great for the advent season, but our family also enjoys it after Christmas as a song to celebrate Three Kings Day or el Dia de los Reyes which is celebrated on January 6th. This is a day set aside to celebrate when the magi, Kings, or Wise Men came to visit the Christ child. You can find out more from our post about Three Kings Day or Twelfth Night Celebrations
We do not know for sure how many kings came to visit the Christ child, but we know that they brought three gifts with them. This hymn tells the story of the magi and the second, third, and fourth verses tell more about the three gifts that the magi brought to the Christ child. The hymn is based on Matthew 2:1-12.
“Because the wealth of USA Appalachian and other folk carols was yet to be discovered, this carol for almost a century was regarded by hymnal editors as the sole USA contribution to the repertory of English language carols .” United Methodist Hymnal editor Carlton R. Young
My daughter enjoyed learning this song on her violin and I hope that you enjoy this video that she prepared. I have also included free copywork and a free hymn study worksheet to accompany this study. They can be downloaded from the list of resources at the end of this post.
If you wanted to do some nature study related this hymn, you could easily incorporate a study of camels, especially if you plan for a Wednesday, or you could look further into the gifts that the wise men brought. I would particularly recommend the study of frankincense or myrrh. There is a lot of meaning behind the gifts. The spices are used today for healing purposes, but hold other significance and uses in the first century.
Also, Nana over at You Are An Artist has a beautiful chalk pastel painting lesson in her hymns course. My children enjoyed this lesson and made beautiful paintings. In addition, they were able to send them to family members to bring them a bit of Christmas cheer. If you are already a clubhouse member you can find the lesson here. If you are not yet a member, this is a great time to give it a try. There are so many wonderful Christmas lessons as well as a variety of hymns. Find out more here.
What is your favorite Christmas hymn? What other hymns would you like to study?
We Three Kings (Cello)
We Three Kings (Choir)
We Three Kings (Piano Guys)
We Three Kings (Kirk Franklin from The Star)
We Three Kings (Dolly Parton)
We Three Kings (Beach Boys)
We Three Kings (Celtic)
We Three Kings (Violin Tutorial)
We Three Kings (String Quartet)
We Three Kings (Jazz)
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