With origins in the third century in Egypt, the Epiphany is the time for a blessing of the house (January 6th for Western Churches; January 19th for Eastern Churches). The eve before the Epiphany is also known as The Twelfth Night of Christmas. Its celebration predates the celebration of Christmas itself. Some Christians believe it important to take down all of their Christmas decorations on Twelfth Night.
There are many customs surrounding Epiphany and one of our favorites is the home blessing. For years, someone would inscribe what seemed to be a secret message atop my parents' door frame in chalk - both front and back doors. We later found it to be the Epiphany House Blessing. My parents are gone now and just last night, I discovered that our dear friend, Jan, was the mystery blessing giver.
The inscription is is year following Christmas surrounding the letters CMB and, for 20, would be inscribed as such below. Because this is 2019, the inscription for the upcoming Epiphany (January 6) is:
Because the upcoming year is 2020.
The following year - 2021 - would use 20†C†M†B†21 as the appropriate inscription.
The inscription offers a blessing to all who enter the house in the year indicated. The central letters have two meanings:
- Caspar, Melchior, Balthazar (the 3 Kings)
- Christus Mansionem Benedicat (Christ Bless this Home)
The crosses (†) between the numbers and letters represent the protection of Jesus and the holiness of the Magi. It is important that the writing is in chalk as it is a product of clay, recalling the human nature of Jesus as he became man.
This wonderful set from Germany features the Gifts of the Magi and more. We have packaged it elegantly with our additions, making the set usable immediately. You needn't purchase the extras or research the meaning, the prayers or the blessings.
- a golden incense plate
- 24 incense cones scented with frankincense and myrrh
- chalk for the inscription
We have added some extras:
- Holy Water from the River Jordan in the Holy Land (to bless the chalk)
- an explanation of the tradition and custom
- prayers to accompany the inscription
We suggest that you request that your Priest bless the water and chalk as well.