Epiphany

Last Sunday we learned that the Twelve Days of Christmas begin on December 25 and end January 5. Epiphany is celebrated January 6. Epiphany is a day that celebrates the revelation of God as a human being in Jesus Christ. It marks the end of the Christmas season. In the Western traditions, Epiphany is associated with the visitation of the magi and their bringing of gifts to the baby Jesus. In the Eastern church traditions, it connects the baptism of Jesus and the first miracle of water being turned into wine.

When one has an ‘epiphany’ something new is revealed or understood. Epiphany is a time to understand and remember that God became one of us.

A tradition that I learned of not too long ago is blessing homes on Epiphany or in the days following. Family and friends gather to ask God’s blessing on their homes and those who live in or visit the home. It is an invitation for Jesus to be a daily guest in our home, our comings and goings, our conversations, our work and play, our joys and sorrows.

One way of doing this is to use chalk and write above the home’s entryway, 20 + C + M + B + 18. The letters C, M, B have two meanings. They are the initials of the traditional names of the three magi: Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar. They also abbreviate the Latin words Christus mansionem benedicat, “May Christ bless the house.” The “+” signs represent the cross, and 2018 is the year.

Marking the doorway to one’s home is rooted in the Old Testament. Holy Scripture reminds us that God has at times commanded his people to mark their doors. The Israelites marked their doors with the lamb’s blood on the night of the passover (Exodus 12:7). A similar command was given with the Shema Yisrael:

Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone.
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.
Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart …
and write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
(Deuteronomy 6:4-6, 9)

Go here to read more and get instructions for doing this as a ceremony.

Tomorrow we gather at 9:00 and 10:30 am for worship, thanksgiving, confession, praise and learning. May our hearts and homes be marked with the knowledge that through Jesus, God is with us.

Grace be with you,

Vikki

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