January 1, 2013
The feast of Epiphany celebrates the completion of the journey made by the pagan Wise Men or Magi from the East to pay homage to the newborn King of the Jews, Jesus Christ. This feast traditionally falls on January 6th
, the twelfth day of Christmas, and celebrates the message of salvation to the Gentiles. This significant event demonstrates Christ’s mission of redemption is for the whole world, not just the Chosen People. Jesus came to save all men, but to be saved, each man must choose to receive this gift. Here are a few ideas for celebrating Epiphany:
- This is the day to move your Wise Men into the manger scene to show that they have arrived to greet the newborn King and worship Him.
- Bless your home on this day for the New Year. A common practice is to write with blessed chalk above the doorway of the main entrance to your house: 20+C+M+B+13. The C, M, and B have two meanings: 1.) Christus Mansionem Benedicat, which means “May Christ bless this house” and 2.) Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar—the names of the three Wise Men. The numbers represent the New Year. The blessing can be found online and can be performed by a priest or the head of the household. This practice not only asks for blessings upon all who enter and leave the home, but calls to mind how the Israelites, before they began their exodus to freedom from enslavement by the Egyptians, were commanded to mark their doorways with the blood of the lamb to testify to those around them of their belief in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in order that the angel of death might pass over their house sparing the lives of their firstborn.
- An interesting documentary to wrap up this Christmas Season is The Star of Bethlehem. Using modern astronomical equipment, a researcher seeks to find clues behind the star that led the Magi to the Christ Child.
- This occurs a bit after Epiphany, but for your information, the tradition in Vatican City is to wait to take down one’s Christmas decorations until the day after the Presentation of the Lord, also known as Candlemas, on February 2nd. This feast celebrates when Joseph and Mary traveled to Jerusalem 40 days after Jesus’ to present him to God in the Temple.
May each of us receive the abundant blessings the Lord wishes to give us during this New Year!