Today is the last day in Christmastide. Tomorrow, January 6, sees the beginning of Epiphany, which is the celebration of the revelation of Christ to the world through the visit of the Magi – the three wise men from the east. The following song, liberally translated from a medieval poem and set to music by German composer Peter Cornelius (1824-1874), tells their story.
“The Three Kings”
Three Kings from Persian lands afar
to Jordan follow the pointing star:
and this the quest of the travellers three,
where the new-born King of the Jews may be.
Full royal gifts they bear for the King;
Gold, incense, myrrh are their offering.
The star shines out with a steadfast ray;
the kings to Bethlehem make their way,
and there in worship they bend the knee,
as Mary’s child in her lap they see;
their royal gifts they show to the King;
gold, incense, myrrh are their offering.
Thou child of man, lo, to Bethlehem
the Kings are travelling, travel with them!
The star of mercy, the star of grace,
shall lead thy heart to its resting place.
Gold, incense, myrrh thou canst not bring;
offer thy heart to the infant King.
How brightly shines the morning star!
With grace and truth from heaven afar
our Jesse tree now bloweth.
Of Jacob’s stem and David’s line,
for thee, my Bridegroom, King divine,
my soul with love o’erfloweth.
Thy word, Jesu, inly feeds us,
rightly leads us, life bestowing.
Praise, O praise such love o’erflowing.