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Monday, January 5, 2009

A Family Epiphany 2009

A re-post, with some updates, from last year's A Family Epiphany:
Tuesday is the Feast of the Epiphany, the end of the Christmas season and the beginning of the season of "Epiphany". This Feast and Season commemorates the visit of the Wise Men or Magi to the Christ Child. Contrary to popular imagery, they most likely arrived in Bethlehem when Jesus was a toddler. Whatever the case, we recognize this also as a season that looks forward to the Gospel being shared with the whole world.

There are lots of fun craft ideas you could do to celebrate with and teach your kids about Epiphany. If you have kids who like to color here are some coloring pages to print. You might also make some paper crowns and let the kids decorate them with glitter and such. The website Catholic Culture has some wonderful information, too. Be sure not to miss the items (recipes, prayers, activities) in the drop-down menus in the top bar.

A lovely way to celebrate Epiphany is with a traditional home blessing. Below is a simple service for families. Start with Chalking the Door. Gather your family at the front door with a piece of chalk and say the following prayer together:

God bless this house,
From door to door,
From wall to wall,
From room to room,
From basement to roof,
From beginning to end.

God bless this house
and who enter here,
All who eat here,
All who work here,
All who play here,
All who sleep here,
All who visit here,
All who abide here.

(from a wonderful little book: The Anglican Family Prayer Book by Anne E. Kitch)

Then make the marks on your front door: 20+C+M+B+08. Each person can write a small part of that, or you can let an adult write the whole thing with the kids each making their own small cross somewhere on the door. (We find this easiest with little kids.) The C,M,B traditionally stands for the legendary names of the Magi (Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazaar); however, I like the alternate: Christus Mansionem Benedicat which means "May Christ bless this dwelling." The numbers are for the year (2008). Of course, you'll use "09" for 2009 this year! I also read a suggestion to make the marks on all the doors leading to the outside.

Now, you can walk through the house with lighted candles (or just the adults) and Holy Water, if you wish, saying prayers for each room's occupants and activities. Perhaps end your "tour" in the kitchen or dining room with a candlelight dinner, tea or dessert of "Three Kings' Cake". I'm using this King Cake recipe this year.

We don't wash off the marks and they've stayed up as a reminder almost all year long. A very blessed Epiphany to you!

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Amy said...

Thanks Kerry! This is the first year we'll be doing the house blessing with Holy Water. Our priest also copied out the Blessing of the Home Prayers from the Book of Occasional Services for us to use. But I like the all encompasing prayer you use too. Our children and their friends are still young enough that they like to dress up like Kings and Queens and have a procession to our Creche where we then sing!
Do you include money or "prizes" in your cake? Do you give gifts to each other? It's encouraging to know other Anglican families will be celebrating too!

Emily (Laundry and Lullabies) said...

Kerry, what a great idea! Jessica from Homemaking Through the Church Year directed me to this post and I'm so glad she did. We did the home blessing last night and the kids LOVED writing on the door. :)

We have started a new Epiphany tradition in our family: we do stockings on Epiphany instead of on Christmas morning. It spreads out the presents so it isn't all so overwhelming for the kids, and it makes it easier to keep the Christmas SEASON when there is a big Epiphany celebration to look forward to. Besides, the three kings gave Jesus gifts, so what better way to celebrate but to have gifts ourselves! I don't know if other people do it this way - it was a brand new idea for us - but we love it and so do the kids!

Alanna said...

What a lovely tradition! Do you do Jesus' Birthday Cake? You might like Lenten grass too.

Kerry said...

Emily and Alanna:
Hi, Emily! That Jessica is a gem! I visited your blog recently in response to that post about the new law affecting the sellers of handmade or used goods. It really is awful!

For a few years, I've wanted to do some sort of presents on Epiphany. We have some italian in our family, so I've thought about doing a little "Old Befana" fun. Stockings is a fun idea!

Thanks for coming by - I'm adding you to my google reader!

Alanna! Thanks for coming by! No, I don't do a birthday cake. I do love the Lenten Grass. My husband's family is from an island between Sweden and Finland (Aland)!

I visited your blog and also added you to my google reader...and to the blog list on my food blog: To Every Meal a Season (there is a link on this blog). I love cooking seasonally!

Kerry said...

Amy! I almost forgot you, way up at the top. HI! Next year, I'm going to plan ahead a bit and have some small gifts ready for Epiphany...and an extra prize for whomever finds the "bean". I didn't do that this year.

Luckily, they liked the cake so much it was "prize" enough. :)

Glad to find another Anglican family blogger. I'm adding you to my google reader, too!