Epiphany is my favourite of the Christmas Feasts. So much so that the kids and I all have a set of Kings and camel to move around the room throughout the 12 days arriving on the 6th of January.
Or at least that was the theory. You know how these things go… the idea of making memories, each child choosing their set of Kings to accompany the ones that come with the Crib, re-enacting their journey in Matthew’s Gospel, moving the Shepherds and sheep on to a nearby shelf to make room in the inn (not in Matthew’s Gospel), culminating in the grand arrival to us all singing ‘We Threes Kings’ and opening a final present after dinner.
It worked well for a few years. Now it is left to me to move all 15 Kings, 3 camels 1 servant and the gold pot of myrrh and frankincense to each allotted place until they arrive in the Crib.
For the past 5 or 6 years our parish has taken on the tradition of house blessing. This tradition, practiced most often in Eastern European countries, takes place on the Feast of Epiphany. Blessed chalk is distributed after every Mass with a sheet which as well as explaining the tradition also has the prayer for blessing the house . When the house has been blessed the following would be chalked upon the lintel (or somewhere near by)
The initials of the 3 Kings surrounded by the year of the blessing, signals sanctuary to all those who flee persecution. . C M B also stands for “Christus Mansionem Benedicat,” meaning “May Christ bless this house.”
But what I really love about this Feast is the beauty and symbolism of the story. It is a story of wonder, yearning and trust. It is a story of pilgrimage, inclusivity, awareness and insight. It tells of Mystery, transformation and action. A group of people outside the Jewish community, convinced that what they sought, yearned for, would be found when the stars aligned, watched and waited. When the Star showed itself, without hesitation they packed up, left their land and followed. They trusted their beliefs, their knowledge, their experience and opened themselves up to possibility and adventure. They bring gifts which announce to the world who this Christ child is: gold for Jesus who is King; frankincense (used in worship): for Jesus who is God; and myrrh (used in anointing at burial) for Jesus who is man.
Led by a star to the Christ Child, the Light of the World. Vatican II’s Constitution on the Church (Lumen Gentium) echoes this in its very first sentence ‘
Christ is the Light of nations. Because this is so, this Sacred Synod gathered together in the Holy Spirit eagerly desires, by proclaiming the Gospel to every creature,(1) to bring the light of Christ to all’
And so the Light of the World is revealed to each one of us. Never again will we walk in darkness, we may not comprehend the Light but it will never leave us, God-with-us, now and always. And it is up to us to witness to Him, to mirror His Light in our lives.
I’ll leave you to ponder how while I get to the shops before they close. They might not be bothered to move their Kings but they still like their presents!
If you want a copy of the sheet just ask, meanwhile here is the house blessing…
A Blessing for the Home.
You revealed your Son to all people
by the shinning light of a star.
We pray that you bless this home and all who live here with your gracious presence.
May your love be our inspiration, your wisdom our guide, your truth our light,
and your truth our benediction:
Through Christ our Lord.