1 After Jesus’ birth — which happened in Bethlehem of Judea, during the
reign of Herod — three queens from the East arrived in Jerusalem 2 and asked, “Where is the newborn ruler of the Jews? We observed his star at its rising and have come to pay homage.” 3 At this news Herod became greatly
disturbed, as did all of Jerusalem. 4 Summoning all the chief priests and
religious scholars of the people, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. 5 “In Bethlehem of Judea,” they informed him. “Here is what the prophet has written: 6 ‘And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least among the leaders of Judah, since from you will come a ruler
who is to shepherd my people Israel.’ ” 7 Herod called the astrologers aside and found out from them the exact time of the star’s appearance. 8 Then he sent them to Bethlehem, after having instructed them, “Go and get detailed information about the child. When you have found him, report back to me — so that I may go and offer homage, too.” 9 After their audience with the ruler, they set out. The star which they had observed at its rising went ahead of them until it came to a standstill over the place where the child lay. 10 They were overjoyed at seeing the star and, 11 upon entering the house, found the child with Mary, his mother. They prostrated themselves and paid homage. Then they opened their coffers and presented the child with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. 12 They were warned in a dream not to return to Herod, so they went back to their own country by another route.
Today is a holiday known to many by a myriad of names: Epiphany, Three Kings Day, Magi Day, Theophany, and in my (more Queer) case, Three QUEENS Day! On this day in the Christian tradition, we celebrate the day the magi traveled to Jesus’ birthplace to pay homage to him as the Christ child. Although they were sent by Herod so that he could find them and “pay homage” as well, these queens knew the truth. He was tryin’ to do some dirty sh*t, so they said “Bye, Felicia” and returned to their country by another route. To this I say.. YAAAS, Queens!
The three Queens of Jesus’ day took a different route to protect themselves and the hope of the world. They risked everything going there and they risked everything going back home — all to pay homage to a person and a cause that was important, but not all too popular with the powerful and greedy. These weren’t the only Queens that have had to take a different route home to save themselves, though. Drag queens and the LGBTQIA+ community have been under heavy attack lately for doing good in the world.
Drag Queens, especially those involved in Drag Story Hour are traveling all across the nation to “read books to children in libraries, schools and bookstores to celebrate diversity and encourage kids to read, according to the program’s website.” These Queens, although many more than three, are doing the same holy work that the magi were doing in the scripture above — supporting the cause of radical love and hope for a world where the marginalized are cast away and forgotten. This work is done in an environment that isn’t safe or welcoming to radical love or hope, but the Queens continue to do the work and take one for the team — even if that means they have to take another route home.
On this Epiphany/Three Queens Day/Three Kings Day/Theophany,
Let us celebrate and pay homage to those that have taken the risk to support radical love and hope.
To that, I say again: YAAAS, QUEENS!