With origins in the third century in Egypt, the Epiphany is also known as the twelfth night of Christmas. Its celebration predates the celebration of Christmas itself.
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 the year surrounding the letters CMB and, for 2016, would be inscribed as such:
The inscription offers a blessing to all who enter the house in the year indicated. The central letters have two meanings:
- Caspar, Melchior, Balthasar (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:
- 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
- the prayers to accompany the inscription
What a wonderful host/ess gift for the Holiday Season!