Chalking your door – holy graffiti?
This an ancient tradition. At its very heart is the idea that we embrace hope for the year that lies ahead. It is a Christian celebration of the season of Epiphany.
This is the story of when the wise men came to visit Jesus. By this time, Jesus was probably a small boy rather than the baby with all the visitors we often see in the crib scene. It comes 12 days after Christmas which ends with the celebration of Epiphany, a word that means revelation or having our eyes opened – the idea of starting the new year by opening our eyes, hearts and minds to fresh starts and new beginnings.
Chalking the door has its roots in the famous story of God’s people in the Bible – in the book of Exodus. God’s people marked their doors with blood so that the Lord would pass over their homes; and so here we mark our doors with chalk as a sign that we have invited God’s presence and blessing into our homes.
In Deuteronomy 6:9, God tells the people of Israel: “These words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house… You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
So at the start of this new year, chalking the door is a tangible way to honour God in our lives. This celebration is a way of marking our homes, usually at the front or main entrance, with sacred signs and symbols as we ask God’s blessing upon those who live, work, or visit throughout the coming year.
What do the numbers and letters 20 C M B 24 mean?
The first and last numbers simply refer to the current year. The letters C M B come from the traditional names for the three kings: Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar. Some also suggest “Christus Mansionem Benedicat” which means, “May Christ bless this dwelling!”
How To Do It
1. Take your chalk!
2. Gather your household: Everyone can be involved. If you are on your own, take some pictures and share on social media with others afterwards
3. Pray: You can use the prayers and liturgy below or make up your own words.
4. Write the inscription: Using the chalk, make the following inscription above or somewhere near the outside of your door.
20 + C + M + B + 24
Feel free to use some or all of these words or others if you like…
At the doorway
May God give his blessing to the house that is here.
God bless this home
from roof to floor,
from wall to wall,
from end to end,
From its foundation and in its covering.
We call upon the sacred three
to save, shield and surround
this house, this home,
this day, this night, and every night.
God of heaven and earth, you revealed your Son to the world 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 Saviour. Amen.