The War on Epiphany

Today, January 6, is the Day of Epiphany, or “Three Kings Day.”

Three Kings Day celebrates the arrival of the three “Wise Men.” Magi as Matthew’s original Greek calls them. By tradition stretching back to the 4th century (or thereabouts) they are accorded royal status. How else could they afford to bear gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh? Long before Christmas became a holiday of any note, Epiphany was celebrated by the exchanging of gifts, in remembrance of the magi’s gifts to the infant Jesus.

You’d think that a holiday marked by exchanging of expensive gifts would be a prime target for a consumerist culture like ours. You’d think that retailers, large and small, would want to make some commercial hay.

I have yet to see a “Door-Buster, Open at 5am, 20% Off, Epiphany Sale” advert. Strange.

I can only imagine that we have, somewhere along the way, without having realized it, lost (or won, depending on which side you were on) the War on Three Kings Day. I cannot recount any of the specific battles in that great war, for there are no storied events to tell. But we know by the absence of even a small blip on the holiday radar that it was an unmitigated success. Today, only the die-hard liturgically calendared folks (mostly clergy of various sorts), give a rip about Three Kings Day. Hardly anybody (in the US) knows that it exists.

The liberals and other nefarious forces making war on Christmas should take a lesson from the successful relegation of Three Kings Day to the island of misfit holidays. If they really want to destroy Christmas (as I’m sure they do because Bill O’Reilly says it’s so), the best way to go about it is by completely ignoring it.

Instead of suing municipalities for erecting creches in their town square, the anti-Christmas forces should ignore the creches in the town squares. “What’s that barn doing in the park, Daddy?” your child might ask. The anti-Christmas parent would answer. “Just an Occupy Wall Street shack, some hippies left there, Lucy. Somebody will probably clean it up soon.” Sure enough, sometime in January, someone will clean it up.

Instead of changing the greetings in stores from “Merry Christmas” to “Happy Holidays,” the anti-Christmas management ought to instruct their employees to stare at customers blankly and say, “Have a nice day,” like they do for the other 10 months of the year.

That’s how the war on Christmas would be won if anyone really wanted to win it, I feel certain.

But the anti-Christmas forces seem either completely inept, or not committed, to wiping Christmas off the calendar. Alas, it seems we’ll have to endure it all again next year.