The Story Behind ‘We Three Kings’

Billie Jo YoumansBy Billie Jo Youmans8 Minutes

We Three Kings — Movie Review

Just the Facts  

We Three Kings: Gold, Frankincense & Myrrh — A Christmas Story for the Whole Family is a 2020 movie that provides context and history for the Christmas carol of the same name, written by John Hopkins Fay. Produced by Thorn Crown Films, LLC, this movie adds to their library of quality family-friendly entertainment.

We Three Kings was first included in a hymnal in the late 1800s, and the movie is set in that era. The story line centers around the Fay family and shares the meaning behind the gifts brought to baby Jesus (Matthew 2). The producers included true-to-life family history as much as possible, but creative license was needed for much of the story line.

Starring Nise Davies and Sidonia Gustafson as Amy Fay, Daniel Eli and Michael W. Smith as Charles Fay, and joined by Rebecca St. James, Emily Gilbert, and Amos Raber, this family friendly edu-tainment achieves its goal with ease.

A Little Entertainment

Facing the first year without their mom, the Fay family preparations for Christmas require adjustments. The children are working together to produce a Christmas play (aka tableau) but run into various challenges…all of which become learning opportunities for the children and viewers.

As Uncle Charles shares insights into the meaning behind the gifts of the Magi gold, frankincense, and myrrh the movie brings the symbolism to life in the lives of the cast. Learning to put others first, serve sacrificially, and love those who are struggling are some of the solid lessons woven into We Three Kings.

At times the characters feel a little too rehearsed or stilted, but that can easily be attributed to the culture of the day. What seems stiff and unrealistic in light of our world’s informality, may also be interpreted as a glimpse into a world of restraint and respect that we may be wise to learn a bit from as well.

This is a good solid Christmas movie families can enjoy and it gently presents some deeper realities well worth contemplating.

A Little Deeper Digging

Embracing Your Gifts

God gives gifts to every one of us embracing and stewarding those gifts is a lifetime responsibility! Several of the We Three Kings characters portray excellent attitudes and efforts we would do well to emulate. Young Amy Fay demonstrates perseverance, humility, and courage as she steps up to fill her mama’s role in the church. Patiently (and respectfully) enduring the harsh correction of the organ player and showing kindness to her later in the movie, Amy powerfully portrays a Christian spirit.

While the movie only hints at the historical reality, John Hopkins Fay faced considerable challenges in bringing new music to the church. His perseverance (and others’ efforts) has brought blessings to countless millions.  The systemic resistance to change typically involves legitimate concerns that are worth deep dialog – and require courageous people with humble conviction to press toward the gifts and callings God places within their heart.

Today, change is so rapid, we struggle to honor valid concerns as we press forward. God has not left us empty or alone, and He will use the gifts He’s placed in individuals to advance his kingdom. Exploring historical examples helps us develop discernment and principles for productive change in the future.

Understanding one’s design is a fundamental aspect of embracing gifts. God has uniquely designed and gifted each individual. Consider God’s design of you by meditating on the following:

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well (Psalm 139:13-14 ESV).

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11 ESV).

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:10 ESV).

The Gift of Joy

There’s a lot of pressure in the world to be happy at holiday time, but we all know there are circumstances that can make joy very difficult. We Three Kings masterfully presents the truth that joy and sorrow mingle through this earthly life. There is much we can do to help others in those difficult times and ultimately help ourselves when it is our turn to face the hard choice of joy.

When the children in We Three Kings called out “Merry Christmas” to the widow who had lost her entire family, I cringed. Sadly, however, such callousness does often happen. Pressing in to receiving the JOY God generously offers and sharing it with others is the call of every Christian.  Jesus, Others, and Yourself really is the only recipe for true joy.

Fixing our eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12:2) produces joy because He exemplifies it even in the face of suffering. Not only does Jesus personify JOY, He gives us His joy as a gift. Be sure to build time into your Christmas season to unwrap the gift of joy and share it with others. Here’s some of what Scripture has to say about joy:

  • God rejoices over YOU with singing (Zephaniah 3:17).
  • God’s consolation brings joy even in anxiety (Psalm 94:19).
  • Complete joy comes through Jesus (John 15:11; 16:24).
  • Rejoice in hope (Romans 12:12; 15:13).
  • Joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22).

The beauty of the King of Kings is well-represented in We Three Kings. Treat yourself to a feast of Jesus with this sweet look at history.

To learn more about We Three Kings and its upcoming airtimes on Inspiration TV click here