The traditional date of Epiphany is January 6, but in the United States it is celebrated on the Sunday between January 2 and January 8. It is sometimes called “Little Christmas” and marks the arrival of the Wise Men (Magi) to the manger in Bethlehem. The custom of blessing homes while recalling the visit of the Magi is celebrated in most old-world countries. The family gathers. Candles are lit. It is most appropriate to gather around the Advent wreath in which the purple candles have been replaced with white. But other white, non-scented candles may be lit if the family does not have an Advent wreath.
(usually the father or mother) begins by saying:
Peace be with this house and with all who live here.
Blessed be the name of the Lord!
During these days of the Christmas season,
we keep this feast of Epiphany,
celebrating the manifestation of Christ to the Magi.
Today Christ is manifest to us!
Today this home is a holy place.
Let us pray:
Father, we give you special thanks on this festival of the Epiphany,
for leading the Magi from afar to the home of Christ,
who has given light and hope to all peoples.
By the power of the guiding spirit,
may his presence be renewed in our home.
Make it a place of human wholeness and divine holiness:
a place of joy and laughter,
a place of forgiveness and peace,
a place of prayer, service and discipleship.
The leader takes
the blessed chalk and marks the lintel (the doorframe above the door)
of the main exit door of the house as follows:
20 + C + M + B + 20(the last two digits are the current year. The CMB stands for the names of the three wise men and also “Christ Bless this Home” in Latin)
The prayer below
is said during the marking by another family member, such as the
mother or a child:
Loving God, as we mark this lintel,
send the angel of mercy to guard our home
and repel all powers of darkness.
Fill those of us living here with a love for each other
and warm us with the fullness of your presence and love.
After the lintel
has been marked, the leader finishes by saying:
Lord our God, you revealed your only-begotten Son to every nation by the guidance of a star.
Bless now this household with health,
goodness of heart, gentleness,
and the keeping of your law of love.
May all who dwell here or visit this dwelling with their presence,
find the joy and thoughtfulness of Mary, the God-bearer,
and thus praise and thank you eternally together with Jesus,
the light of the nations,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit and the Church,
now and for ever.
All join hands and pray together the “Our Father.”
The leader then invites all to share a sign of peace:
Let us offer each other a sign of peace.
Other doors may be marked by family members, especially children marking the doors of their own bedrooms. If possible, the family may continue the celebration by sharing a special meal together.
Source: This blessing service was adapted from the one that St. Josaphat Basilica in Milwaukee gives out each year at this time.