This is the nativity set that I had growing up as a little girl. Considering it survived me and my sister and then my six children, it is in remarkably good shape! Izzy and Rosie have a lot of fun every Christmas moving the wise men around the house. A couple of times during Christmas, Rosie hid one of the wise men (we call them the wise guys for fun). When she would hear me lamenting about where the missing wise guy could be, she would run and get him and then proclaim, "I found him mama, I got the wise guy!" We don't allow them to get to the crib until Epiphany. It's sort of fun that way. The girls moved them through the house, closer and closer until this morning she triumphantly got them to the crib!
This Epiphany we get a special treat - my friend Jenny Shanahan wrote a special book called Lost and Found. It prominently features the wise men and is a nice addition to our celebration. (You can order yourself a copy by e-mailing her at LostAndFoundBookOrders@gmail.com.)
Tonight we will bless our house with a traditional Epiphany blessing. I first blogged this here.
From The Year and Our Children
Mary Reed Newland
Many blessings are given on the Epiphany. The Blessing of the Chalk, the Blessing of Gold, Frankincense, the Blessing of Bread, or Eggs, and of Salt and the Blessing of Homes.
There is a difference between blessings given by a priest and the same blessing read by the father or some older member of the family when it is not possible to have the priest present. But it is a mistake to consider them without efficacy when the layman reads them. By our Baptism we have a share in Christ’s Priesthood. If we are part of Christ in his Mystical Body, and He is High Priest, we share this with Him. Ours is not the same as the power of a consecrated priest, but it is our right and privilege to ask God’s blessing on the things we use in daily life, and we should exercise this privilege often. The Blessing of Chalk, is usually given by a priest at church. The chalk is then distributed to people, who take it home to use after the Blessing of the Home.
…going from room to room sprinkling the house with holy water. At the end of this procession, the father or other grown-up writes over the front door with the blessed chalk:
(This was written then in 1956. So today we write on our doors 20+C+B+M+08)
*C+B+M stand for the initials of the three wise men, Caspar, Melchoir, Balthasar.
BLESSINGS OF HOMES ON EPIPHANY
V. Peace be to this house
R. And to all that dwell herein.
Antiphon: From the west the Magi came to Bethlehem to adore the Lord; and opening their treasures, they found costly gifts; gold to the great King, incense to the true God and myrrh in symbol of his burial. Alleluia.
Now follows the reading of the Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55). The home is sprinkled with holy water and following The Magnificat the antiphon is repeated: From the east… then the Our Father silently.
V. And lead us not into temptation.
R. But deliver us from evil.
V. Many shall come from Saba.
R. Bearing gold and incense.
V. O Lord, hear my prayer.
R. And let my cry come unto thee.
V. The Lord be with you.
R. And with they spirit. Let us spray. O God, Who by the guidance of a star didst this day reveal thy Sole-Begotten Son to the Gentiles, grand that we who now know thee by faith may be brought to the contemplation of thy heavenly majesty. Through the same Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord Who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God forever and ever. Amen
Responsory: Be enlightened and shine forth, O Jerusalem, for thy light is come, and upon thee is risen glory of the Lord, Jesus Christ born of the Virgin Mary.
V. Nations shall walk in thy light, and kings in the splendor of thy birth.
R. And the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. Let us pray. Bless O Lord, almighty God, this home that it be the shelter of health, chastity, self-conquest, humility, goodness, mildness obedience to the commandments, and thanksgiving to God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. May blessing remain for all time upon this dwelling and them that live herein. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.