The Latin countries separate Christmas and Epiphany, a wise move which attempts to safeguard the more domestic side of December 25.Today in the Catholic Church we celebrated Epiphany.
Los tres reyes (3 kings) in Spain is the gift giving day, the Sunday closest to January 6,the Epiphany. The Greek word means “manifestation” or the unveiling of God in this case. It is all brilliant scripture writing and good theology.
By the time Matthew came to write his story of the gift-giving kings around 90, 60 years after the death of Jesus it had become clear to many Jews and non-Jews that in the life of this man, God had become real. Matthew merely retrojects the “divinity” back to his very babyhood. Not that this man could be God—an impossibility and really an outrage to the Jewish mind—but that here was somebody in whom the divine was seen in a new and powerful way.
The early Christians of course were all Jews who gathered in synagogues in the Roman province of Palestine. By the time of Matthew’s community, the earliest church had split from the synagogue.Jesus was not accepted as Mashiac so Christianity went on its way slowly changing history with its powerful message of human dignity for all.