It has been a tradition of the church to bless homes on Epiphany, January 6, the day the Magi found the Christ Child and offered their gifts. We draw with chalk on the doorpost of the front door of our homes, read scripture, sing hymns, and pray blessings over our homes and the people who will enter.
During the chalking ceremony, the letters — C, M, B — are inscribed on the door frame. These letters stand for “Christus Mansionem Benedicat,” meaning “May Christ bless this dwelling.”
CMB are also the initials of the traditional names of the three wise men Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar — although these names are not found in Scripture.
These letters are inscribed between the numbers of the year. Since it will be 2021, you’ll write the following on the upper horizontal piece of the door frame of the front entrance to a home:
First read Matthew 2:1-11
Then sing together The First Noel or We Three Kings
Next bless the chalk and together prayer the liturgy on the back.
“Lord Jesus, through your Incarnation and birth in true human form, you have made all the earth holy. We now ask your blessing upon this simple gift of your creation: chalk. We use it as a tool to teach our children, and they use it as a tool in their play and games. Now, with your blessing, may it become a tool for us to mark the doors of our home with the symbols of your wise servants who, so long ago, came to worship and adore you in your first home.
Mark you door: 20+C+M+B+21
May we, in this house, and all who come to visit, to work, and to play, remember these things throughout the coming year. May all who come and go here find peace, comfort, joy, hope, love, and salvation, for Christ has come to dwell in this house and in these hearts. May we be Christ’s light in the world. Amen.”
For this liturgy L is Leader and C is Community, the people gathered
L: The Lord is with you;
C: And also with you.
All: Peace be to this house and to all who live, work, and visit here.
L: The three wise men came to Bethlehem in search of the Lord. They brought to him precious gifts: gold to honor the newborn king, incense to the true God in human form, and myrrh to anoint his body, which one day would die like our own.
L: Let us pray. O God, you once used a star to show to all the world that Jesus is your Son. May the light of that star that once guided wise men to honor his birth, now guide us to recognize him also, to know you by faith, and to see you in the epiphanies of the daily experiences of our lives.
L: Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord — Jesus born of Mary — shall be revealed.
C: And all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken it.
All: As the Wise Men once sought your brilliant light, O Lord, so may we week to live and work in your splendor.
L: O God of Light, bless our house and our family. May this be a place of peace and health. May each member of this family cultivate the gifts and graces you have bestowed, dedicating our talents and works for the good of all.
L: Make this house a shelter in the storm and a haven of rest for all in need of your warmth and care. And when we go out from this place, may we never lose sight of that Epiphany star.
All: As we go about our work, our study, our play, keep us in its light and in your love.