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Epiphany Home Blessing

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The practice of blessing one's home on the feast of the Epiphany and writing a special marking over the entrance to the home with blessed chalk is a centuries-old tradition.  This short blessing is a way of marking our homes, usually at the front or main entrance, with sacred signs and symbols as we ask God’s blessing upon those who live or visit here throughout the coming year. In the book of Exodus, the Israelites marked their doors with blood, so that the angel of death would pass over their homes.  In this blessing, however, we mark our doors with chalk as a sign that we have invited God’s presence and blessing into our homes. Also, in Deuteronomy 6:9, God tells the people of Israel: “These words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house… You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” Chalking our door in this blessing is also a tangible way that we honor God's Word in our lives.

BLESSING

1. Take a stick of chalk that has been blessed by a priest or deacon, and write above your home’s front entrance (inside or outside -- you will most likely need a ladder or a step stool to reach above the door), 20 + C + M + B + 23. (For years following 2023, replace 23 with the last two digits of the current year.)

      

2. A family member then reads this explanation:
“The letters C, M, and B have two meanings. They are the initials of the traditional names of the three magi who brought gifts to Jesus sometime soon after his birth: Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar. They also abbreviate the Latin words Christus Mansionem Benedicat, which translates to “May Christ bless this house.” The "+" signs represent the cross, and the numbers indicate the year.

3. The head of the house then leads the prayer:
(Begin with the sign of the cross) "Dear God, we ask Your blessings on our home and family and anyone who visits here. We invite Your Son, Jesus, to be a part of our family and to always be with us in our home, in our comings and goings, our conversations, our work and play, our joys and sorrows. We thank You and we love You. We make the following words of Joshua our own: 'As for me and my house, we shall serve the Lord' (Joshua 24:15). (Then pray an Our Father and a Hail Mary, and end with the sign of the cross.)

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