Henry Wadsworth Longfellow is one of the most famous American poets of all time. In 1877 he wrote the poem, The Three Kings to tell the story of the wise men traveling to meet Jesus at his birth. The wise men are a wonderful model of worship to share with our children, especially at Christmastime.
What I love about this poem was that Longfellow adds some of his own imaginative details, speculating at parts of the story and adding humanity to the nameless Wise Men. Like, having them nod off as they rode on their long journey to Bethlehem. But, he also closely follows the nativity story. So much so, that I chose to share this Christmas poem with my kids so we could purposefully connect it to the actual accounts in the gospel record.
I’ve made a poetry study pack that includes a printable version of the poem as well as a side by side comparison with the bible verses and the poem’s stanzas right next to each other. The printable also includes a list of discussion questions to start conversations with your kids after you read the poem and compare it to the Bible’s account of the nativity story. You can grab this pack below. I hope that this resource makes it easier for you to use this in your homeschool.
The Three Kings
Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.
Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem asking, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews?”
King Herod was deeply disturbed when he heard this, as was everyone in Jerusalem.
Then Herod called for a private meeting with the wise men, and he learned from them the time when the star first appeared. Then he told them, “Go to Bethlehem and search carefully for the child. And when you find him, come back and tell me so that I can go and worship him, too!”
After their interview the wise men went their way. And the star they had seen in the east guided them to Bethlehem. It went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was.
She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them. Luke 2:7
“I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior-yes, the Messiah, the Lord-has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”
You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High, The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David, And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!”
They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
But Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often.
When it was time to leave, they returned to their own country by another route, for God had warned them in a dream not to return to Herod.
Grab your FREE copy of The Three Kings Poetry Study Pack to use in your homeschool this month.
Further Study on Longfellow:
Longfellow Biography from the Poetry Foundation
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow: A Maine Historical Society Web Site
13 Amazing Facts About Longfellow by Maine Historical Society
I hope you enjoy sharing this beautiful poem about the birth of Jesus with your children this December.