Blessing the home on or near the feast of Epiphany, in remembrance of the hospitality of the Holy Family when the magi visited their home to pay homage to the Christ Child, is a tradition that dates from the Middle Ages. Using chalk (which may be blessed for the purpose), mark your doorway with the inscription 20+C+M+B+24. The numbers indicate the year, containing crosses for Christ and the initials of the traditional names of the magi, Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar. The letters also stand for Christus mansionem benedicat, (May Christ bless this house).
We will bless chalk at the Eucharist on Jan 6 and use it to mark blessings on our church homes at St. Mary the Virgin and St. Helen’s. You are invited to pick up a piece of this chalk and a copy of the prayer (which can also be downloaded here), on either the 6th or on Sunday the 7th, to mark a blessing on your own home as well.
Chalking the Door
a service of home blessing
Standing on your doorstep
The Lord be with you (or, if alone) In the name of the Holy Trinity:
And also with you
The wise ones followed God’s star to Bethlehem, seeking the saviour.
I will follow the star.
They found Jesus in Bethlehem and knew they had found the one they were seeking.
I will look for Jesus.
They fell down and worshipped him, offering him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
I will offer my gifts to the Lord.
The door is marked 20+C+M+B+24 while you say:
Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar followed the star of God’s son who became human two thousand and twenty-four years ago. May Christ bless this home and each person who lives or visits here.
Holy God, watch over my/our going out and my/our coming in throughout this year. Fill me/us with the light of Christ that I/we may grow in love, in wisdom, and in faith. Amen.