Follow the Star

Prayer: 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 night
Star with royal beauty bright
Westward leading, still proceeding
Guide us to thy Perfect Light

Read: Matthew 2:1-12 

Think about It: The popular Christmas Carol, We Three Kings of Orient Are has been sung and enjoyed by Christians since the mid 1800's when it was written (both lyrics and music) by Rev. John Henry Hopkins, Jr., an Episcopal priest, from Williamsport, PA. The lyrics to this song lead us to believe there were three kings that came to visit Jesus shortly after His birth by following the star that appeared in the heaven to celebrate His birth. This is unfortunate because these visitors were not "kings" nor were there probably 3 of them. Here is a prime example of where tradition and truth become  intermingled.

If you read the text carefully, you will find that the travelers from the East who came to visit Jesus brought three gifts. It is an extrapolation to think that because there were three gifts there were three visitors. Quite possibly, there were many more than three and because they represented royalty, they probably came with an entourage (although the text doesn't say there was an entourage - so that too is an  extrapolation! See how easily it can happen!) And here's a mind bender - maybe they weren't even all male! The text doesn't tell us that either - we assume they were men! The original text simply says "magi" or astrologers.

Here's a prime example of what can happen when we begin to place our understandings and imagination over the top of the Scriptures. While this particular extrapolation is fairly harmless, we need to always be mindful of exactly what the text does and does not say. In this case, we are told that Gentiles came to worship the Newborn King, following a star to find Him. Somehow, they knew to worship Him. That's all we have - but it's enough!

Prayer: Born a King on Bethlehem's plain
Gold I bring to crown Him again
King forever, ceasing never
Over us all to reign

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