What is Epiphany?
Why do we do a house blessing?
(Easy outline for doing a house blessing)
On Sunday, January 3rd we celebrate the Epiphany of the Lord. This solemnity celebrates the magi’s visit to the infant Jesus. Why celebrate people Scripture tells us so little about? The magi were not Jewish; they were Gentiles. By giving the infant Jesus gold, the magi identified Him as king. By presenting Him with frankincense, the magi recognized Him as God. By offering Him myrrh, traditionally used in the burial rite, the magi foreshadowed His death. The Epiphany of the Lord reminds us that Christ’s incarnation was for all people. Use the attached activity sheet to help your child(ren) think of gifts of self they can offer back to Jesus today!
Traditionally, we celebrate this feast by blessing our homes. Blessing our home with chalk is reminiscent of the Israelites marking their doors to be saved from death. By marking our doors on Epiphany, we are asking for God’s protection for the upcoming year. Using chalk, we inscribe the first part of the year, followed by the letters C+M+B and the last numbers of the year on top of the door frames in your house. This year, it should look like this: 20 C+M+B 21.
The letters we use stand for two important things: the names given to the magi who visited the infant Jesus (Casper, Melchior, and Balthazar) and the Latin phrase “Christus mansionem benedicat” which means “Christ, bless this home.”
For centuries, priests would visit homes to bless them on Epiphany. Since that is no longer possible, the head of the household is able to do this. For a complete blessing of your home, check out this link from the USCCB.
It is traditional to proclaim the date of Easter for this calendar year during the liturgy celebrating the Epiphany of the Lord, so prepare your children to listen for that at Mass this Sunday, and then have them write down the date on a family calendar!