20 + CMB + 21
A blessed Epiphany to you! I wonder how many of us celebrate the Epiphany? If you have ever visited Historic New Castle for their Dickens Christmas you might have stumbled upon the Amstel House’s display prepared to show us what a Colonial Twelfth Night celebration may have looked like. But what exactly is Epiphany?
It means revelation. We begin the season of revelations with the revelation to the Magi, a mysterious gentile people from the east.
Matthew 2:1-12 is the story of these mysterious visitors from the east bearing gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. They travel following a star that seems to have come to a standstill over the town of Bethlehem. Although we may put our magi out around our nativity scenes, in scripture they arrive at the house of Jesus and his parents - apparently about two years since Mary gave birth and laid Jesus in a manger.
In Luke 2 we learn that Jesus is the light of God revealed (here is the revelation) to all nations. This means that God has expanded beyond the bounds of the chosen to people to all people. The magi are those that show this is true to the gentiles. But there also is another peculiar thing we do...we make an assumption. We assume that there were three magi, even though scripture does not reveal a number to us. We make this assumption most likely based on the three gifts that were brought. Tonight, at our Epiphany service, we will talk a bit about the meaning of the three gifts.
But I am curious about you right now. How do you celebrate the Epiphany?
I have always loved the three kings. I mean LOVED the three kings. My father would put a life size nativity in our front yard each Christmas and I would have so much fun standing next to the kings that were about just my height. Later I learned of the tradition of Three Kings Day all with a special cake! If you are lucky, you might just find the small plastic wiseman in your piece of cake...thus guaranteeing you a year of good luck! Now, in adulthood, my love for cake has not gone away (obviously). I have adopted the tradition, along with Craig, of chalking our door frame. Again, we will see how that work at tonight’s virtual service. Now for a full confession, the three wisemen are a large part in my determining whether or not to purchase a nativity scene to add to the collection.
But the chalking of the doors is still one of my favorite traditions. This is a centuries old house blessing that is written in chalk over your doorframe. It may look a bit strange with letters, numbers and symbols - but each holds a symbolic meaning to call to mind the blessing of God to watch over our coming and going. I encourage you to join me in this wonderful tradition - all you need is some chalk and perhaps something to stand on to reach the doorframe. I chalk my front door, but any door will do. Ultimately you say out loud the prayer as you write the letters.
20 + C M B + 21
The magi of old, known as
M Melchior, and
followed the star of God’s Son who came to dwell among us over
20 two thousand
21 and twenty one years ago.
☩ Christ, bless this house, and all those who enter
☩ and watch over our coming and going each day of this year.
Christus Mansionem Benedicat (see … CMB is back in another way … Christ bless this home)
Yours in Christ,