January 6th, Epiphany, is traditionally the day on which to bless homes. House blessings are done on Epiphany because Epiphany is the celebration of the Magi arriving at Jesus’ house to honor him. We bless our homes in hopes that we too might receive visitors bearing gifts, blessings, and joy.
This year we haven’t had many visitors in our homes. We pray that 2021 will be different. While we haven’t had visitors, our homes have become an even more central part of our lives. At times they may have felt like refuges, at times they may have felt like prisons. My hope is that in these final few months while we wait for the pandemic to end, our homes may be our sanctuaries—the place where we encounter God.
And so in this Faith Talks, I am including the order of service for a house blessing. I encourage you, on or around January 6th, to bless your home in gratitude for the safe harbor it has provided this past year, in faith that the Spirit fills it now with grace, and in hope that it soon may be filled with friends, family, and visitors from afar bearing gifts and glad tidings. To do your house blessing, you’ll need:
1) A candle
2) A bowl of water
3) A small leafy branch or bouquet (for flinging water)
4) Chalk (or something else with which you can write on your door’s lintel)
Light the candle and say, “Jesus said, I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will have the light of life.” Then as a family walk to each room following the person carrying the candle. For each room find the appropriate scripture reading and prayer listed below. After reading the passage and saying the prayer, bless the room by using the branch or bouquet to fling water around the room three times, in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
After you have blessed all the rooms, use the chalk to write on the lintel about your front door “20 + C M B + 21.” The initials stand for the Latin blessing “Christe mansionem benedicat” (“Christ, bless this house”) and also for the legendary names of the magi (Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar). The numbers stand for the year in which the blessing is made.
(See attached pictures for prayers.)