What are we talking about today?

Some days have themes. I don't necessarily post something in each of these topic areas every week.

Sunday: Church-related or spiritual things.
Monday: Running.
Tuesday: Books.
Wednesday: Transportation.
Friday: Green living.

05 January 2017

On the Twelfth Day of Christmas

For the 12 Days of Christmas, I'm sharing second, third, or otherwise not-first verses of popular Christmas carols.

A somewhat stylized version of the visit of the Magi.
Image source: Bartek Ambrozik on freeimages.com.
"We Three Kings"

By: John Henry Hopkins, Jr

Written in: Williamsport, Pennsylvania, 1857

I have thoughts: First of all, what kind of a ridiculous word is "twelfth," am I right? English is goofy. No wonder it's so hard for folks to learn it as a second language; plenty of people have trouble learning it as a first language. (The number of times I've said to my father, "How do you even come up with a sentence like that? You are a native English speaker." Apparently, he speaks some unknown dialect of Indiana English that is incomprehensible to even his own children.)

Where were we? Oh, yeah, the three kings. So, tonight is Twelfth Night, when the Three Kings visit children and leave presents (some families celebrate both Christmas and Three Kings Day, while others just choose one) in various cultures around the world. Tomorrow is Epiphany, when people will celebrate with King's Cakes, family dinners, and (for those of us who stick with tradition) taking down the Christmas tree. It is the final day of Christmas.

This is quite a sweeping overview I'm giving you, and doesn't even begin to capture the historical importance of Epiphany to the Christian calendar, so if you want to know more, the Wikipedia article is long and detailed and contains links to sources.

So, what better song for Twelfth Night than "We Three Kings"? Most folks will note that in the Biblical account there were three gifts, not three visitors, and that three gents undertaking such a journey without a big crowd with them is pretty unlikely. It's a song that draws heavily on legend and tradition, since we don't have a lot of information about these travellers.

Verse: The three middle verses describing the gifts, naturally, since those tend not to be sung much.
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 all men raising,
Worship Him, God on high.

Myrrh is mine: Its bitter perfume
Breaths a life of gathering gloom.
Sorrow, sighing, bleeding, dying,
Sealed in a stone-cold tomb.
Watch: Because I'm not turning down singing Hugh Jackman. Australians sure know how to party. Especially that bit toward the end when they get a bit prophetic about Hugh's future and start marching like it's "One Day More." (In case you're wondering--I did, so I looked it up--yes, Hugh Jackman is left-handed.)

And that brings this fun little series to an end. I hope you've had a delightful holiday season, no matter which day you chose to stop celebrating. Tomorrow we're back to my usual books, bikes, and buses.

Metro Lyrics

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