Photograph by Alex Cherney, TWANComet Lovejoy as seen from Cape Schanck
Melbourne, Australia, Christmas Eve 2011.
"And behold, the star that the Magi had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was. They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh." Matt 2:9-11
The word Epiphany comes from two Greek words: the preposition “epi” and the verb “phainen” which means to shine upon, or to reveal. And so, on this feast day, we celebrate Christ first revealing himself to the magi as they arrive by the light of the star.
For some years in my parish we have had the tradition, on this feast day, to hand out a small baggie filled with blessed chalk, some incense and a blessing. Once home, it allows each family to bless their home and mark the lintel of the front door, thereby blessing all those who enter…reminding us that while we celebrate the first epiphany of Christ this Sunday…Christ continues to manifest himself in all who enter our homes and our lives.
My friend and author, Meredith Gould, talks about this tradition of chalking the lintel in her book: The Catholic Home: Celebrations and Traditions for Holidays, Feast Days, and Every Day. It is a book every home should have!
So take a few minutes today or this weekend...gather the family, grab a piece of chalk hanging around the house, click here to download a home blessing/ritual you can use...and make the connection of the sacredness of church to the sacredness of your home and family!