Epiphany > Traditions

In many places across Latin America, the tradition of gift-giving is reserved for children only and only on the feast of the Epiphany.

That’s when the Magi are said to have visited the baby Jesus in the manger. The Kings of Orient, Melchior, Gaspar and Balthazar, brought gifts to the baby, and the act is replicated by leaving gifts in the shoes of the children on the morning of January 6.

Tradition and Christian scripture tell us that the three Kings followed a star to the place where they found the infant Jesus. Were I to have been a camel boy on that expedition, I would have been in a foul mood, grudgingly doing my job for the sake of doing it and nothing else.

But the Magi followed an expectation. And when their particular truth appeared in their lives, the moment was suspended. They call it Epiphany. And it’s supposed to be the culminating end to the season.

Epiphanies are moments when truth pierces our many layers of invented beliefs. We can’t predict them, or call ahead to reserve a table, they just happen. But they seem to happen more often if you walk through life knowing that they will.