Going somewhere important.

December 17, 2011

Whenever I hear Going To Another Place by Chip Davis I feel like, well, going to another place.  I haven’t listened to it in a while, not because I don’t like the song, it’s one of my lifetime favorites.  But I have felt like staying put for a while and I don’t want the Steamroller to stir anything up.

I wonder what the magi had on their ipods as they traveled across the desert in their living land rovers.  And did they realise they were going somewhere special?  Somewhere important?

Originally titled We’ve Been Through The Desert On A Camel With No Name, John Henry Hopkins couldn’t get anyone to sing his Christmas song, so he renamed it, We Three Kings.

OK I made that part up.  Reverend John Henry Hopkins wrote We Three Kings Of Orient Are as part of a Christmas Pageant for the General Theological Seminary in NYC, where he taught and directed the music program.   This 1857 carol expresses the hope of the magi, as well as the glory and wonder they experienced in meeting the King in a manger.

The song (I suppose rightfully) does not spend any time on the King Herod part of their journey.  I wonder, as Hopkins must have, whether the three magi even gave Herod a second thought after meeting the Baby.  Yes they were warned in a dream not to return to Herod, and to find a different way home, but I’ll bet the Hope they found drove the fear of Herod right out of them.

I think Rev.  Hopkins did a pretty good job conveying the story from Matthew, chapter 2;  adding drama without adding superfluous details not found in the gospel.  I especially like the fact that Hopkins caught the important point that they worshiped.  “On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.”  (Matthew 2:11)

Although it doesn’t specifically say so in the scripture, I’ll bet the magi headed home with hope for the future because of their Bethlehem experience.  Even though it was in all likelihood a Nazareth experience.  Was Jesus a precocious two-year-old?  Did he go through the terrible twos.  Did he squirt his mother with Myrh and scatter gold coins arcoss the floor?  Did he say, “NO!” when his father told him to put away his things because it was bedtime?

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 light, Star with royal beauty bright, Westward leading, still proceeding, Guide us to thy perfect light.

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


Frankincense to offer have I; Incense owns a Deity nigh; Prayer and praising, voices raising, Worshiping God on high.


Myrrh is mine, its bitter perfume Breathes a life of gathering gloom; Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying, Sealed in the stone cold tomb.


Glorious now behold Him arise; King and God and sacrifice; Alleluia, Alleluia, Sounds through the earth and skies.


If you have to (or get to) travel this holiday season, spend some time thinking, maybe even talking about the magi, the wise men from the east.  Try to imagine what they went through on their journey, probably two years on the trail with no hot tubs or king-sized beds.  And look forward as you travel, as those men did so many years ago, to meeting Royalty.  In a smelly stable.  Or wherever you happen to be.


One Response to “Going somewhere important.”

  1. Sue said

    Tim, I remember these writings(the gist of it) from the last time you posted them, and just as they did in the past, they encourage me greatly,in the now. Wouldn’t it be good content to illustrate, or pair up with photos and publish! Thank you for sharing them. It means a lot to me. Encouraged, Sue

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