20 + C + M + B + 16
Happy Epiphany! The inscription above is the traditional way of marking one’s door on Epiphany. The letters, C,M,B stand for the traditional names of the three wise men: Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar. They also stand for the Latin phrase, Christus mansionem benedicat, “May Christ bless this house.” The numbers are the new year, 2016 which has just begun. The crosses stand for Jesus Christ. We’re providing blessed water and chalk for you to carry out this blessing at home – see the prayer below.
Especially in this Jubilee Year of Mercy, doors take on a special significance. Special “Holy Doors” have been opened at cathedrals, basilicas and shrines around the world. These doors represent Jesus who is the way to the Father. To pass through the holy door is to experience the merciful love of God who always waits to welcome us home to himself: “Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut.” (Revelation 3:8.) The open holy doors also point to the heavenly Jerusalem where the door is always open (See Revelation 21:21, 25.)
By inscribing the Epiphany blessing above the lintel of our doors, we can make our own “holy door”. It can serve as a reminder to ask for God’s blessing on all our comings and goings; upon the visitors who enter our home; and on our daily family life. The blessing over the door reminds us that each home is called to be a “domestic church” – a place where Christ dwells among us in faith, hope, and love. Finally, it is a reminder that our door is always to be open to welcome the stranger and those in need of friendship, consolation, or support.
(Another version of this blessing was in the Christmas bulletin. )
All make the Sign of the Cross.
Leader: Peace be with this house and with all who live here.
Response (All): And peace be with all who enter here.
Leader: During these days of the Christmas season, we keep this Feast of Epiphany, celebrating the manifestation of Christ to the Magi, and thereby to the whole world. Today, Christ is manifest to us! Today this home is a holy place because of the presence of Christ here.
Leader: Listen to the Gospel according to Matthew. (Read Matthew 2:1-11.)
Leader: The word of the Lord.
Response (All): Thanks be to God!
Leader: O God, Lord of all that exists, you revealed your only-begotten Son to every nation by the guidance of a star. Bless this house and all who inhabit it. Fill each of us with the light of Christ, that our concern for others may reflect your love. We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Response (All): Amen
The head of the household or another person marks the lintel above the door with the inscription 20+C+M+B+16 and sprinkles the doorway with holy water. If desired, other rooms may also be sprinkled with holy water. A Christmas carol may be sung to conclude the celebration.