Archive for January, 2016

January 1, 2016

Three Kings Day (January)

Three Kings Day is celebrated around the world by Christians every January 6. In honor of this holiday (which is older than Christmas), here are seven facts:

1) The Story of the “Three Kings” can be found in Matthew 2.

2) The Kings apparently did not visit Jesus at the stable. Jesus and his family had moved to a “house” (Matt 2:11). Jesus was older but not yet 2 years old, for Herod chose to kill all children from 2 years old and under (Matt 2:16).

3) We usually imagine just three kings. But since they gained an audience with King Herod pretty easily, and their comments troubled Herod (Matt 2:3), it was probably a much bigger and notable group, not to mention their servants and animals and gifts. We get the number three from the three gifts mentioned in Matt 2:11 of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Most likely, they presented more than three gifts to Jesus.

4) Traditional names given to the Three Kings are Melchior, Caspar, and Balthazar, described as being from Persia, India, and Arabia, though other names have been used. They are described as wise men, kings, and astrologers in English, magos in the Greek where we get the word magi. They were religious rulers probably with some political power, hence “kings.” Christians have used the word “king” because of its echo with verses like Psalm 72:11, “May all kings bow down to him and all nations serve him.”

5) Epiphany is another name for Three Kings Day. It means “revealing” since Jesus was revealed to the world through these kings who represent the nations of the world. Jesus is not just the Savior and King of the Hebrew people, but all people.

6) Epiphany marks the end of the 12 day long Christmas season. It has been celebrated by Christians longer than Christmas. It is thought that Christmas was chosen to be celebrated on December 25 partly because it would be close to the holiday of Epiphany.

7) Three Kings’ Day is often celebrated with children placing a box of grass or hay under their beds. During the night, the Three Kings come, feed their camels the hay, and leave three gifts in return. For what it’s worth, I think that’s much cooler than Santa.

Pastor Rich