Epiphany: Blessing of the home.

Tomorrow is officially Epiphany (although some will celebrate on Sunday). Do you celebrate Epiphany? If so, how? If not, you may want to consider starting the tradition “Blessing of the home”. There is more than one way to perform the tradition.  Here is one way that I like:

Have some incense burning, a sprig from a bush, some water, and divide a cake into as many pieces as you have participants. Hide a coin or dry bean in one piece and distribute them at random. Whoever gets the special piece of cake with the bean/coin in it is crowned (paper crown or party hat), robed (bathrobe), saluted (noisemakers left over from New Year’s), and toasted (hot apple cider or whatever…)! The new royalty now writes with chalk over the front door of your home the following:

20+ C + M + B + 12

The numbers represent the new year. The four crosses are the four seasons. C-M-B are the initials of the legendary names of the magi: Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar. Or another explanation that I actually like better is that C-M-B stands for the Latin phrase “Christus mansionem benedicat” which means “May Christ bless this dwelling place”.

Now, say a simple blessing such as:

Dear God,
we thank you for this past year
and for the year to come.

Be with us as we fill our home with kindness,
hospitality, and caring for others.

Help us to dream the dream of a better world
and to work towards that dream daily.

Hold us close to each other.
Keep us close in spirit with those who have died or who are far away.

May all who come to our home this year
rejoice to find Christ living among us;
and may we seek and serve,
in everyone we meet,
Jesus who is Lord for ever and ever.

Bless us as we burn this incense.
Bless us as we use this chalk to mark our door.
Bless us as we sprinkle our home with this water.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Now, everyone moves from room to room sprinkling the home with water, a sign of Jesus’ baptism in the River Jordan.

If you have a group that likes to sing try singing some Epiphany songs such as “We Three Kings” or “O Come All Ye Faithful”.

When done with all the rooms, say the Lord’s Prayer, and finish with exchanging the sign of peace.

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