If you listen to Christmas music on the radio, you've probably noticed that the classic traditional Christmas carols, particularly religious carols, have receded into the background as modern Christmas songs now dominate the radio. A traditional Christmas carol with heavily religious themes in it is “The 12 Days of Christmas.” By the time you're reading this, radio stations have stopped playing Christmas music, and many people have moved on to the next season.
For us who are Christians, the Christmas season, along with the 12 Days of Christmas, began on Christmas Day. Those 12 Days of Christmas lead us up to January 6, the traditional date for the Feast of the Epiphany, which has sometimes been referred to as “Little Christmas.” This feast should not be an afterthought for us, but instead, we should celebrate this day with great joy and excitement; it is the continuation of the Christmas season. Perhaps some feel fatigued by all things Christmas by January 6 because we are forced to enter into a sense of Christmas even before Thanksgiving.
The Feast of the Epiphany celebrates God manifesting Himself in Jesus Christ to all of the nations; it is the celebration of the Magi, guided by the star, finding the Christ Child to bear Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh and to pay Him homage. One of the devotions long associated with the Feast of the Epiphany is a house blessing. The most recognizable aspect of this blessing is using blessed chalk to inscribe above the main door of the house. The inscription reads this year: “20 + C + M + B + 20.”
Why this inscription? The capstone 20s indicate the year, 2020. The letters C, M, and B have double meanings. Tradition maintains that the names of the Magi were Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar. Additionally, those letters begin the three Latin words in the phrase, Christus mansionem benedicat, which is translated as “May Christ bless this house.” There is also a short ritual to go along with chalking the door. I recommend all participate in this devotion at your home, as we have provided the ritual for everyone to use. Have a great week!