Feast of the Epiphany
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in the territory of Judea during the rule of King Herod, magi came from the east to Jerusalem. They asked, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We’ve seen his star in the east, and we’ve come to honor him.”
When they saw the star, they were filled with joy. They entered the house and saw the child with Mary his mother. Falling to their knees, they honored him. Then they opened their treasure chests and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. (Matthew 2:1-2, 10-11)
The word Epiphany means a divine appearance or a sudden illuminating experience. That “aha” moment when the true meaning of a phrase or event suddenly makes sense.
In the Western Church, the celebration of the Feast of the Epiphany has come to be associated with the coming of the Magi. It is the “aha” moment when we realize that Jesus came for all people, including non-Jewish foreigners. It is the end, of the “Twelve Days of Christmas” (December 25 – January 6).
Many years ago, when I was doing youth ministry, I discovered a wonderful, little known tradition associated with Epiphany called “the Blessing of Homes and the Chalking of the Door.” https://www.umcdiscipleship.org/resources/an-epiphany-blessing-of-homes-...
The first year we did it was frigid and snowing. I almost cancelled but instead, bundled every one into 3 cars and set off to visit each child’s home. Because it was so bad out, we split up so each car only had 4-5 homes to visit. About half way through, I asked if they wanted to quit because of the weather, but the response was unanimous that every person’s house had to be visited. What an “aha” moment with a group of junior high students. It was important to them that their home and their family were blessed.
Never have our homes been so important to us. We have spent more time in them than we ever imagined. Over the last year, our home has been our office, our school, our place of safety, and maybe even felt like our prison. The idea of blessing our home and our family seems very important this year.
Here is the closing prayer from the service that you can pray for your home this Epiphany.
O God of Light, bless this (our) house and this (our) family. May this be a place of peace and health. May each member of this family cultivate the gifts and graces you have bestowed, dedicating our talents and works for the good of all. Make this house a shelter in the storm and a haven of rest for all in need of your warmth and care. And when we go out from this place, may we never lose sight of that Epiphany star. As we go about our work, our study, our play, keep us in its light and in your love. Amen.