traditional date of Epiphany is January 6, but in the United States it is celebrated
on the Sunday after Christmas, between January 2 and January 8. The whole of the
Christmas season, especially on the feast of the Epiphany, is a traditional
time to bless homes, including passageways and doorways.
related to these blessings is a ritual of “chalking” the doors of the home with
the numbers of the year separated by the initials, CMB. The letters traditionally
refer to the legendary names of the three kings: Caspar, Melchior, and
Balthasar (Scripture neither names them nor says there were three of them).
Another tradition refers to it as the abbreviation of the Latin phrase, Christus
mansionem benedicat, translated as “May Christ bless this house.”
the door for Epiphany, one would write in chalk on the outside lintel above the
door: 20 + C + M + B + 17.
After singing a joyful
hymn, such as “O Come, All Ye Faithful”, all make the sign of the cross. The
Leader: X Peace be with this house
and with all who live here.
Blessed be God for ever.
All: Blessed be God forever!
The leader may use
these or similar words to introduce the blessing:
Leader: Today we gather in this
holy place to recognize that Christ dwells here.
As the Three Kings
followed the light of the star, we too follow the light of Christ to be a place
of welcome, a people of generosity, and a dwelling place for God.
The home is where we first learn to pray and search for Christ,
to forgive and receive forgiveness, to offer our gifts, and to bless each
Let us then ask God to open our hearts so that, as the doors of this home
are opened to neighbor and traveler, this family may be a source of welcome for
all in need and a place where Christ is found.
As the words of the
Gospel of John are proclaimed, let us consecrate this door and the home it
protects, and all the doors herein to Christ who is the sheepgate.
Let the front door be the
threshold that leads both ways to the blessings and goodness of God.
Scripture below is proclaimed, the oldest and the youngest persons of the
household may take turns using chalk to inscribe “20 + C + M + B + 17”
on the outside lintel of the front door. A reader may slowly read the following text
of sacred Scripture from the family Bible as the inscription is written over
the door John 1:13-14.
In the beginning was the Word,(inscribe 2)
and the Word was with God,(inscribe 0)
and the Word was God. (inscribe +)
He was in the beginning with God. (inscribe C)
All things came to be through him, (inscribe +)
and without him nothing came to be. (inscribe M)
And the Word became flesh (inscribe +)
and made his dwelling among us, (inscribe B)
and we saw his glory, (inscribe +)
the glory as of the Father’s only Son, (inscribe 1)
full of grace and truth. (inscribe 7)
The gospel of the Lord. (inscribe 7)
to you, Lord Jesus Christ.
the following Scripture passage is proclaimed, another family member places an Epiphany
card (representing the Three Kings) over the front door on the inside of
the star that they had
seen at its rising preceded them,
until it came and stopped over the place where the child was.
They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house
they saw the child with Mary his mother.
They prostrated themselves and did him homage.
gathered sing an appropriate song, such as “We Three Kings,” as they each
receive a lit candle and follow the family into the main gathering space of the
home. Before chalking all of the doorways they wish on the interior, the leader
begins the litany and all join in its response as the family proceeds to chalk
their interior doorways.
this household has been given the light of Christ through baptism,
let us pray that this
home shines radiantly with the love of God to be a shelter of peace for all who
visit and dwell in it as we sign all of our doorways.
response is: Make us your dwelling place, Lord.
us your dwelling place, Lord.
Mary, and Joseph: Make us your dwelling place, Lord.
With Anne and Joachim:…
With Elizabeth and
With Anna and Simeon:
With the shepherds and the kings:
With all the angels and saints:
With all holy men and women:
For the sick and the hungry:
For the homeless and the lonely:
For friend and stranger:
For neighbor and traveler:
In our hopes and dreams:
In our faults and failings:
In times of joy and peace:
In times of sadness and grief:
When anger and fear confuse us:
When pride and pain confound us:
When the plans we make must change:
When you call us home by a different way:
In all things, great and small:
taught us to call upon the Father, and so we pray:
gathered may then place a hand on the shoulder of the person near them as the
leader says the following prayer.
are you, Lord, God of all creation,
for through your goodness
you have given us shelter from the cold
and the light of your
Word to brighten the darkness of night.
We come to you bearing no
gifts for everything we have is a gift from you.
All we can offer is our
love for each other and our faith in your Son.
Transform, then, these
humble gifts into an epiphany,
a revelation of your
divine presence, and bless this house and all who come to it.
May this home and this
family be a light for all who are lost and afraid,
a place of peace and
hospitality for those in need,
and a sign that you are
indeed God with us.
And when our long journey
has ended, lead us all by the star of your mercy
that we may come home to you to the dwelling place you have prepared for us.
Grant this through Christ
The leader says:
Leader: Let us
bless the Lord.
All respond, making the
sign of the cross:
All: X Thanks be to God.
The prayer may conclude
with the singing of a Christmas carol, such as “Joy to the World”.