Epiphany is an important day in the Christian calendar. Every January 6th (and usually one of the Sundays close to it), we remember the story of the Magi, the Wise Ones, the Kings, who visited the humble Holy Family in Bethlehem, following the wild star, to bring their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh; who by going home by another way, an act of civil disobedience, saved an innocent family from a cruel tyrant (Read the whole thing in Matthew 2:1-12).
There is a tradition at this time of year to “chalk the doors” with the symbols at the top of the page – an Epiphany blessing. The 20 and 23 represent this coming year, while the “C,” “M,” and “B” stand both for the three traditional names of the Magi (not found in Scripture anywhere), Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar; as well as a Latin phrase, “Christus Mansionem Benedicat,” Christ bless this home.
This blessing (like most blessings) is not about welcoming God into your home (God is already there!), but about becoming aware of the regular, everyday places where God dwells, where God is already blessing. This blessing is also about the intention, the invitation to welcome everyone who comes through your doors this year as if they were Christ himself, to show the hospitality and generosity that the Magi both gave and received in visiting the Holy Family.
On January 8th, we will be blessing some chalk in our Sunday morning service. However, whether you take one of these blessed pieces, or just a piece of sidewalk chalk from your garage, or simply take a moment to remember this story and pray over your home, I invite you to bless your dwelling place, the dwelling place of Love made manifest, the place where God is pleased to dwell and bless.
Thanks be to God!
PS. Please reach out to me if you would like me to come by your home this week to join with you in remembering the story and blessing your home for 2023!
Some options for the Epiphany Blessing:
May all who come to our home this year rejoice to find Christ living among us; and may we seek and serve, in everyone we meet, that same Jesus who is your incarnate Word, now and forever. Amen.
God of heaven and earth, you revealed your only-begotten One to every nation by the guidance of a star. Bless this house and all who inhabit it. Fill us with the light of Christ, that our concern for others may reflect your love. We ask this through Christ our Savior. Amen.
Loving God, bless this household. May we be blessed with health, goodness of heart, gentleness, and abiding in your will. We ask this through Christ our Savior. Amen.
As the inscription is written:
The three Wise Men, [C] Caspar, [M] Melchior, [B] and Balthasar followed the star to Bethlehem and the child Jesus  two thousand,  and twenty years ago. [+ +] May Christ bless our home [+ +], and remain with us throughout the new year. Amen.