Now we’ve come to the Epiphany time of the Christmas season. Since Epiphany is observed liturgically on the Sunday between Jan. 2 and 8, we can dwell on it for a few days until the actual date of Jan. 6. Our magi will continue their travels across the family room until then. Epiphany’s inclusive message – that Jesus’ light shines forth for all – is worth the time!
Blessing the home is a European custom associated with Epiphany dating back to the Middle Ages. In the traditional ritual, the initials of the three magi, Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar, along with the numerals of the current year are marked with blessed chalk on the inside of the main door. For this year, it would be written as 20 + C + M + B + 11. Another interpretation is that the letters stand for the blessing “Christus mansionem benedicat,” Latin for “May Christ bless this house.” Scripture readings, singing, incense and holy water can also be incorporated.
It’s been many years since we conducted this ritual in our home, but I’m thinking of reviving it. With teenagers coming and going in growing independence, blessing a doorway seems especially fitting. I’d like to bless the one between our kitchen and garage. At that threshold I say on the early school mornings, “Be careful. Have a good day. I love you.” Lying in bed as the clock approaches midnight on weekends, it’s that door’s chime I listen for. Through that portal we loaded the minivan for our oldest’s move to college last August. From mundane errands to major moments, it’s our passage from the shelter of home to the world beyond.
Bless, O Lord, this threshold that we cross again and again. As we set out, enlighten our path with your brilliance and show us the way. Watch over us in all our travels. Make our home a haven of peace and rejuvenation for us when we return and for all who enter. May all our journeys lead us to You.
Resources for house blessing ritual: