January 6th is the yearly celebration of the visit of the magi to the young and innocent Jesus Christ. This is the day after the last day of Christmas and is a celebration of the light that has come to the world through Jesus. The gifts that were brought to Mary, Joseph and Jesus were the means by which they escaped as refugees to Egypt in their attempt to escape the oppression of King Herod.
Over the years some theologians have questioned the biblical support for Epiphany. This is a part of a greater movement that questions many holidays and celebrations that have become staples of Church tradition. Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant traditions celebrate most of the same holidays and Epiphany is celebrated universally as well.
But why the opposition to tradition? The holidays of the Church have been founded on the idea that we are to gather and celebrate as in the words of the Psalms and similar to the events at the Temple in Jerusalem (minus the sacrifices of animals). Although, finding biblical basis for many of the modern traditions can be stretching at times. Holy Week and Christmas celebrations are a combination of the Synoptic narratives, Pentecost is celebrated but we are far cry from what Peter and the Apostles were like that day in their gathering space and the tradition of Lent and Ash Wednesday are merely of post-biblical origins.
So why would we celebrate biblically loose holidays? If we ask this question then we would be questioning 2,000 years of discipleship and discernment. The theology behind these types of questions has to ask more questions that just “Is it in the Bible?”. Most of Christian theology is not fully expressed in scripture including many unfortunate stances on fear, racism and exclusivity that have found their way into modern thought.
Please leave Church holidays alone. Epiphany is a celebration of light. Unfounded criticism only brings more darkness into the world. I often question many aspects of the Church in our post-Christendom and post-modern world but they are based on the teachings of Jesus Christ and not invented for an agenda. Peace be with you and Happy Epiphany!