January 5, 2014 (Traditionally January 6 but today transferred to the nearest Sunday)
Epiphany means “manifestation”, that moment when we suddenly understand something that previously was hidden from us. On this feast we especially remember the three Magi: Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar, who followed the star to a manger in Bethlehem where the Messiah was made manifest for them in the person of a newborn child.
In imitation of the journey of the Magi, carolling is appropriate around the time of this feast as a way of announcing the manifestation of the Christ Child in song.
It is also traditional to bless doorways on this feast. The Magi showed great hospitality when they came to honour the Messiah. The blessing of the doorway reminds us to welcome strangers and travellers into our midst as though each were Jesus himself.
Here is a simple prayer service to use when blessing the doorway:
Gather everyone in a convenient place and make the sign of the Cross.
Leader: The Magi followed a star to find God in a tiny child. Let us imitate them in seeking the Saviour manifest in our world.
Reading: Matthew 2:1-12
If you have a crêche, move the magi to the scene. You may wish to sing a hymn here.
Blessing: To bless the doorway, write over the doorway with chalk the first two digits of the year, the initials of each of the Magi, and the last digits of the year, e.g. 20 + C + M + B + 14. The initials correspond to the first letter of each word in the simple prayer, Christus Mansionem Benedicat, Christ bless this house. You may wish to say these words as you mark the doorway.
Lord Jesus, in your humble state you welcomed kings and shepherds alike. May all who pass through this doorway — poor or rich, suffering or rejoicing, stranger or friend — be welcomed as the King Himself. Grant peace to this house and to the house of our hearts that we may seek and find you in everyone we meet. You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
If you have holy water you can bless the corners of the room with it or move from room to room sprinkling each room and the people gathered. You may wish to sing a hymn at this time.