Today, as with one voice, the entire corporate news media and the left-wing blue checks of Twitter will wail, rend their garments, and lament the second anniversary of the worst day in American history since the attack on Pearl Harbor: the “insurrection” of Jan. 6, when Trump and his bigoted minions almost destroyed American democracy.
This is all you will hear about today, if you pay attention to those people. Don’t listen to them. The only reason Jan. 6 is important, this year or any year, is because it’s the feast of Epiphany, the day Christians worldwide celebrate the revelation of Jesus Christ as God incarnate.
Epiphany means “manifestation,” and in the Roman Catholic Mass it is celebrated by a commemoration of the triple manifestation of Christ: first to the Magi or Three Wise Men, who represent the Gentiles; then at the baptism of Christ, when a voice from heaven declared, “This is my beloved Son”; and finally at the wedding feast of Cana, when Jesus changed the water into wine.
For centuries, Christians have marked Epiphany, sometimes called Three Kings’ Day, with a rich and sometimes odd variety of rituals, feasting, and merry-making. It’s the day when the faithful will chalk their doors with the letters “C,” “M,” and “B,” the initials of the three Magi (Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar), or Christus mansionem benedicat (“May Christ bless this house”), or simply “IIIK” to symbolize the three kings.
There’s a lovely medieval European Epiphany tradition called three kings cake or galette des rois, when a small fève or trinket, sometimes a figurine, symbolizing the Christ Child, is hidden in a cake or pastry. Pieces of the cake are distributed randomly and whoever gets the piece with the fève is crowned “king” or “queen” and presented with a paper crown. Finding the fève is considered an auspicious sign that will bring good luck in the coming year. (In Louisiana, the tradition of galette des rois comes with a twist: If you’re crowned king or queen, you’re responsible for making next year’s cake or hosting the next Mardi Gras party.)
The Eve of Epiphany is celebrated as Twelfth Night, which is traditionally when Christians would take down their Christmas decorations and have a party. Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” was likely commissioned as part of such celebrations, and indeed its first documented public performance in 1602 fell on Candlemas, which marks the formal end of Epiphanytide.
There are plenty of other Epiphany traditions, like winter swimming, Epiphany singing (which is like Christmas caroling, except with children dressed as the Magi carrying a giant star), and of course attending Mass or divine liturgy.
I mention all this only to say that most likely you won’t hear about Epiphany today — and, unless you’re a tradition-minded Christian, sadly will probably not participate in any of it. Corporate media outlets and talking heads will instead spend the day clutching their pearls in feigned outrage and dismay over the Jan. 6 riot in 2021 at the U.S. Capitol. Why? Because they desperately want to commemorate it as another Pearl Harbor or 9/11, and use the anniversary as a political weapon to slander former President Donald Trump and his supporters as domestic terrorists and insurrectionists.
Some of these people, because they have no sense of history and proportion, and because they are blinded by their priors, really believe this. But many of them don’t, and will engage in performative outrage to demonstrate that they are not “one of those people,” and are just as horrified at what happened on Jan. 6 as their true-believing colleagues and peers. Plenty of so-called conservatives will strike this pose today, I guarantee it.
But none of that is important, and if we want to restore our civilization and save our country, we should reclaim Jan. 6 for God. What is important today, and every Jan. 6, is that Jesus Christ “was manifested in the substance of our mortal flesh, with the new light of His own immortality He restored us.” Our hearts and minds today should not be focused on the political vicissitudes of our ailing republic or the petty propagandizing of our corrupt media. It should be on Epiphany, as is proclaimed in the Introit of the Epiphany Mass: “Behold the Lord the Ruler is come: and the Kingdom is in His Hand, and power, and dominion.”