Epiphany Blessing of Homes & Chalking the Door
In some parts of the world, particularly Great Britain, there is an old custom at Epiphany of asking God’s blessing on one’s home and upon those who live, work, or visit there throughout the coming year. This was done by marking chalk symbols on the upper horizontal piece of the door frame of the front entrance to a home as a sign of God’s presence. “Chalking the Door” was often part of a Twelfth-Night or Epiphany-tide celebration with friends, food, singing, and gifts.
The chalking ceremony coincided with Epiphany, which marks the arrival of the Magi (commonly known as Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar). And so the first letters of these three names — C, M, B — were inscribed on the door frame. Some suggest the CMB may also stand for Christus Mansionem Benedicat, meaning “May Christ bless this home.” The letters are inscribed between the numbers of the years being bridged or by the year being entered into, e.g., 2020 C M B 2021 or 20 CMB 21.
While there will be no Epiphany parties this year, this rite is perfect for us all as we abide at home. And if chalking your door is not be practical, consider putting a sign of paper or wood somewhere near the front entrance of your home or property as a blessing on your household and on those who will come and go at your doorway in the months ahead. It’s okay if it fades or washes away over time, the significance will continue.
Pandemic Prayer Ideas
1/ Think of those who are struggling or working hard during the pandemic. These might be individuals known to you or groups of people (for example, frontline workers, those who have lost income, the sick, the lonely, vaccine researchers). Write each name or group on a sticky note, and post them up some place you will see them everyday. Each day touch the notes, one at a time, and pray for the people named there. Pray for God’s protection of them. Give thanks for them. Pray that they will have strength to be able to persevere. You may wish to send a message of thanks and encouragement to anyone you may know personally, and let them know that you have prayed for them and their work.
2/ Find a large piece of paper and, at the end of each day, write down something (or some things) for which you are thankful on that day. Use coloured markers, simple sketches, or fancy lettering. Be creative. Eventually you will have a personalized piece of artwork and a reminder of the way God continues to bless you.