Blessing in homes at Epiphany

Isaiah 60:1,


On Epiphany, the wise men were led by the great star to a baby in Bethlehem.  They opened their treasure chests to worship him, to offer gifts to him there.  This Sunday, we celebrate the way in which God manifested God’s only Son to the peoples of the earth by the leading of a star (see BCP 214).  The Book of Occasional Services (2003) reminds us of the traditional blessing of the family home that has long been  celebrated in the week around Epiphany, recalling the hospitality that Mary and Joseph extended to the three kings “in a stable rude.”   Mary and Joseph made space for the three kings to worship the King of the Universe.  Gertrud Mueller Nelson notes that often as a part of a family Epiphany celebration, “the initials of the legendary names of the Magi,  Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar are written with chalk on or over the main doors of the house and framed by the numbers of the new year:”


Nelson notes that some people suggest that CMB stands for “Christe, Mansionem Benedica,” that is, “Christ, bless this house.”  [See Gertrud Mueller Nelson.  To Dance with God:  Family Ritual and Community Celebration.  (New York:  Paulist Press, 120).]

As Epiphany approaches, a prayer from The Book of Occasional Services “Blessing at Epiphany:”

Visit, O blessed Lord, this home with the gladness of your presence, Bless all who live here with the gift of your love and grant that they may manifest your love to each other and to all whose lives they touch.  May they grow in grace and in the knowledge and love of you; guide, comfort, and strengthen them; and preserve them in peace, O Jesus Christ, now and forever.  Amen.

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