Scripture Verse

When they came into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down, and worshipped Him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto Him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh. Matthew 2:11

Introduction

illustration
Wise Men Inquiring of the
Birth of the King of the Jews
William B. Hole (1846–1917)

Words: Tho­mas B. Mur­ray, Lays of Christ­mas (Lon­don: Fran­cis & John Riv­ing­ton, 1847), num­ber 4.

Music: Vom Him­mel Hoch Geist­liche Lied­er, by Val­en­tin Schu­mann (Leip­zig, Ger­ma­ny: 1539). Har­mo­ny by Jo­hann S. Bach (🔊 pdf nwc).

Alternate Tunes:

portrait
Johann S. Bach
(1685–1750)

Lyrics

Now who are these that thus repair
To Salem’s streets, with travel worn,
And ask the wondering people, where
The King of Zion should be born?

Wise men are they, from eastern parts,
Who fail not, in their zeal, to bring
Rich treasures, and obedient hearts,
Oblations to the new-born King.

For they, in their far-distant home,
A Gentile region, dark and dim,
Have seen His star; and they are come
To Judah’s land, to worship Him.

But not in palaces nor halls,
On pillows rich and soft reclined,
’Midst cedar roofs, and marble walls,
Shall they the King of Zion find.

No ministers of high estate,
Nor chiefs, nor learnèd ones of earth,
Are gathered in His courts, to wait
The tidings of Immanuel’s birth.

Nor yet on Zion’s glittering dome
The star of glory shed its ray;
But stood o’er Bethl’hem’s humble home,
And showed them where the young Child lay.

’Twas there the Son of David’s race,
Whom God of old was pleased to grant,
They saw; and in that lowly place,
Th’abode of indigence and want,

Devoutly kneeling on their knees,
They spread their gifts, their holy things,
And hearts more precious far than these,
An offering to the King of kings.

Lord! be it ours Thy guiding light
In every path of life to see;
And still let wisdom, wealth, and might,
Devote their richest stores to Thee!