Epiphanytide : Day 12

Star of wonder

Star of light

Star with royal beauty bright

Westward leading

Still proceeding

Guide us to thy perfect light.

Chalking the Door

Either on Twelfth Night (5 January), the twelfth day of Christmastide and eve of the feast of the Epiphany, or on Epiphany Day (6 January) itself, many Christians write on their doors with Chalk in a pattern such as 20 ✝ C ✝ M ✝ B ✝ 21, with the numbers referring “to the calendar year (20 and 21, for instance, for this year, 2021); the crosses stand for Christ; and the letters have a two-fold significance: C, M and B are the initials for the traditional names of the Magi (Caspar, Melchior and Balthazar), but they are also an abbreviation of the Latin blessing Christus mansionem benedicat, which means, May Christ bless this house.” 

In some localities, but not in all, the chalk used to write the Epiphanytide pattern is blessed by a Christian priest or minister on Epiphany Day; Christians then take the chalk home and use it to write the pattern. This Christian custom of chalking the door has a biblical precedent as the Israelites in the Old Testament marked their doors. Families also perform this act because it represents the hospitality of the Holy Family to the Magi; it thus serves as a house blessing to invite the presence of God in one’s home.

Are there other traditions that you follow during the church year?

What other blessings do you ask for / use?

Prayer

Almighty and everlasting God, creator of time and space of season and epoch, of birth and evolution of both living creatures and galaxies alike, hear us as we humbly come before you as we mark our brief passage of time as another year begins. We have heard the Christmas story, about how you came to live among us. As we try to understand what this means in our lives we pray that you will guide our life journeys.

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