I'll admit, when I was a young'n, I thought "We Three Kings" was a silly song. I mean, it was just about a star, right? After all, since I only knew the chorus, and the first verse:
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.
I figured, what a tame song. I kinda wondered what separated this from your standard, pithy 7-11 chorus (seven words, eleven times).
Then, I started singing the whole song:
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: it's bitter perfume Breaths 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.
Now, as I read through through this amazingly, deep, insightful sermon of a text - reading the crucifixion into the gifts of the wise men, I'm kinda blown away. In five short verses, we have the entire life story of Jesus, prefigured in the verses.
Given that understanding, then, why is this hymn restricted to Epiphany, and not also pulled out during the Lenten preparation for the cross?