We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand. ~Isaiah 64:8

Friday, January 4, 2008

A Family Epiphany

This Sunday is the Feast of the Epiphany, the end of the Christmas season and the beginning of the season of "Epiphany". This Feast and Season commemorates the visit of the Wise Men or Magi to the Christ Child. Contrary to popular imagery, they most likely arrived in Bethlehem when Jesus was a toddler. Whatever the case, we recognize this also as a season that looks forward to the Gospel being shared with the whole world.

A lovely way to celebrate Epiphany is with a traditional home blessing. Below is a simple service for families. Start with Chalking the Door. Gather your family at the front door with a piece of chalk and say the following prayer together:

God bless this house,
From door to door,
From wall to wall,
From room to room,
From basement to roof,
From beginning to end.

God bless this house
and who enter here,
All who eat here,
All who work here,
All who play here,
All who sleep here,
All who visit here,
All who abide here.

(from a wonderful little book: The Anglican Family Prayer Book by Anne E. Kitch)

Then make the marks on your front door: 20+C+M+B+08. Each person can write a small part of that, or you can let an adult write the whole thing with the kids each making their own small cross somewhere on the door. (We find this easiest with little kids.) The C,M,B traditionally stands for the legendary names of the Magi (Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazaar); however, I like the alternate: Christus Mansionem Benedicat which means "May Christ bless this dwelling." The numbers are for the year (2008).

Now, you can walk through the house with lighted candles (or just the adults) and Holy Water, if you wish, saying prayers for each room's occupants and activities. Perhaps end your "tour" in the kitchen or dining room with a candlelight dinner, tea or dessert of "Three Kings' Cake".

We don't wash off the marks and they've stayed up as a reminder almost all year long!

A very blessed Epiphany to you!

2 comments:

DebD said...

I'm so glad to see that the Anglican's share the ancient tradition of house blessings. I'd never heard of it until I was Orthodox.

Amy said...

I just ordered the Anglican Family Prayer Book based on what I have read here. I can't wait to get it!