Epiphany Hymns and their Story
February 13, 2023

“The Star Proclaims the King is Here”

Like it’s Christmas counterpart, “from East to West, from shore to shore” this Epiphany hymn finds it’s origin in the 5th century poet Sedulius, that quite literally traces the life of Christ from A to Z.  The Hymn was brought from Latin into the people’s language by many authors, including Dr. Martin Luther.  He first published it in German, in 1543.  
This is one of the most comprehensive of all hymns set aside for the season of Epiphany, a season of great importance to the early Christian Church.  It touches on each of the three manifestations of Jesus traditionally commemorated during this celebration: the visit of the Magi [Matthew 2:1-2]; Jesus’ baptism [Mark 1:9-11]; and the changing of water into wine [John 2:1-11].  
The first verses addresses Herod and his paranoid reaction to the wondrous star that proclaimed the arrival of the heavenly King, while the second verse relates how the “eastern sages” were led by the light of the star to the Light of the world.   The phrase “their gifts confessed their God” refers to the allegorical significance of the gifts in early Christianity: gold was associated with royalty, meant for Christ the King; frankincense was an offering for Christ as God [it “owns the deity nigh” in the words of “We Three Kings”]; while myrrh was a gift suitable for the man who would die on a cross and be buried [Mark 6:1].

1 The star proclaims the King is here; but, Herod, why this senseless fear?
For He who offers heav’nly birth seeks not the kingdoms of this earth.

LSB 399

Post a Comment

Your email is never shared. Required fields are marked *