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We Three Kings of Orient Are: Blessing the Home at Epiphany

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Catherine Fournier

The Christmas season ends with Epiphany, the threefold 'discovery' and manifestation of the divinity of Jesus Christ; by the three Magi who came to worhsip Jesus in the manger in Bethlehem, during His baptism in the river Jordan by his cousin John, when the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove descended from Heaven and a voice proclaimed him the Son of God, and when He performed his first miracle by changing water into wine during the wedding feast at Cana.

Properly speaking, Epiphany is the first Sunday after January 1st. It can be celebrated on January 6th as well, whatever day of the week that falls on. Follow whatever suits your family schedule. Celebrate Epiphany more than once if you want, using one of our suggestions each time.

There are many ways to celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany in the domestic church. The three Wise Men - which in our home are small cloth figures made of bright cloth embellished with gold braid, ribbon and shiny buttons - who have been slowly moving through the dining room towards the creche on the living room bookcase, finally reach the manger on this night, and bow before the Christ Child.

The Creche is surrounded by candles and the tiny cloth figure of the Baby Jesus is 'enthroned', with the manger draped with a scrap of purple cloth and a small crown placed on his head.

"Behold, the Lord, the Ruler is come, the Kingdom is in His Hand, and power and dominion"

Then the Three Kings bless our home. Dressed as the Kings, in capes and other bright 'regal' costumes with home-made crowns on our heads, we process through the house, singing 'We Three Kings of Orient Are.'

Dad leads the way with a stick of chalk and a small bottle of holy water. At each doorway leading to the outside, we stop and he marks the lintel with: 19+C+M+B+98 (the last digits change each year).

He then sprinkles the doorway with holy water and says this prayer: 'Oh Lord, grant that the names of Thy saints Caspar, Melchior and Balthazar, may, through their merits and petitions, bless our home and bring physical health and spiritual protection far all who enter here. Amen.'

When we have blessed our home, we begin to take down the Christmas decorations, and pack them away for another year. But with the blessing of our home, we have not put away the message and promise of Christmas to be forgotten until December of next year, we have ensured that it will follow us throughout the rest of the liturgical year celebrated in our domestic church.

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