Epiphany – God manifest and shining forth

Blessing for a Home at Epiphany

Matthew writes that when the magi saw the shining star stop overhead, they we filled with joy. “On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother.” (Matthew 2:10-11) In the home, Christ is met in family and friends, in visitors and strangers. In the home, faith is shared, nurtured, and put into action. In the home, Christ is welcome.

Epiphany Day (January 6) or the time after Epiphany offers an occasion for gathering with friends and family members for a blessing of the home, using the following as a model.

Someone may lead the greeting and blessing, while another person may read the scripture passage. A visual blessing may be inscribed with chalk above the main door; for example, 20 + CMB + 21. The numbers change with each year. The three letters stand for either the ancient Latin blessing Christe mansionem benedicat, which means, “Christ, bless this house,” or the legendary names of the magi (Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar).

May peace be to this house and to all who enter here:
By wisdom a house is built
and through understanding it is established;
through knowledge its rooms are filled
with rare and beautiful treasures.   [Proverbs 24:3-4]

A reading from John:
In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God.
All things came into being through him,
and without him not one thing came into being.
What has come into the being in him was life,
and the life was the light of all people.
The Word became flesh and lived among us,
and we have seen his glory,
the glory as of a father’s only son,
full of grace and truth.
From this fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.
[John 1:1-4, 14, 16]

This inscription may be made with chalk above the entrance:
 20 + C M B + 21
The magi of old, known as
C             Caspar,
M            Melchior, and
B             Balthasar
followed the star of God’s Son who came to dwell among us
20           two thousand
21           and twenty-one years ago.
+             Christ, bless this house,
+             and remain with us throughout the new year.

Prayer of Blessing
O God,
you revealed your Son to all people
by the shining 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 peace our benediction;
through Christ our Lord.

Then everyone may walk from room to room, blessing the house with incense or by sprinkling with water, perhaps using a branch from the Christmas tree.

Adapted from “Come, Lord Jesus: Devotions for the Home” (Augsburg Fortress, 1996).