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Chalking the Door – An Epiphany Tradition

January 5, 2014
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Blessing the home on or near the feast of Epiphany is a tradition that dates from the middle ages. Using chalk, we mark our doorways with the inscription 20+C+M+B+14, calling to mind the wise ones, traditionally named Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar, who journeyed far from their homes to Bethlehem in search of Jesus. The letters also stand for Christus mansionem benedicat (May Christ bless this house).

This morning, we chalked the front doors of the Cathedral and sent everyone home with blessed chalk and a prayer to use on their own homes. If you weren’t with us this morning, and even if you don’t have blessed chalk, I encourage you to find a regular piece (an antacid tablet will work in pinch!) and mark your doorway as well.

May Christ be revealed to you and through you in this blessed Epiphany season!

Chalking the Door
a service of home blessing

Standing on your doorstep
The Lord be with you
And also with you

The wise ones followed God’s star to Bethlehem, seeking the saviour.
Let us follow the star.
They found Jesus in Bethlehem and knew they had found the one they were seeking.
Let us recognize Jesus.
They fell down and worshipped him, offering him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
Let us offer our gifts to the Lord.

The door is marked 20+C+M+B+14 while you say:
Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar followed the star of God’s son who became human two thousand and fourteen years ago. May Christ bless our home and each person who lives in it or who visits us.

You may go inside to say this prayer or stay outside.
Holy God, watch over our going out and our coming in and fill us with the light of Christ, that we may grow in love, in wisdom, and in faith. Amen.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. January 6, 2014 9:08 pm

    What are the 20 and 14 for?

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