Chalking the Door- an Epiphany tradition

On Epiphany (last week on January 6th), we pulled out the chalk and marked the door for the new year.  

When we shared a meal with our sweet friends the Murrays last weekend, we extended our Epiphany celebration and read together the liturgy that we use each year. 

This liturgy is one of my favorites as it is a time to remember what St. Benedict said over 1500 years ago that "all people who present themselves should be welcomed as Christ." 

Heidi Haverkamp writes, "Receive every person who comes through your door as though they were bringing Jesus to you. Receive every person you meet as though you were encountering the face of Christ......Part of what makes a monastery a healthy place is to receive guests, so that the monks or sisters don’t get turned in on themselves, or imagine that they’re the center of the world, or that only they are good Christians. Part of what makes a church a healthy place is to receive guests, so that we don’t imagine we’re a club, or a secret place. A church should be a place anyone can come to meet Jesus, and a church is a place where anyone who comes can be a way for the other people there to meet Jesus. That’s why hospitality is so important. Because it helps us meet Jesus." (

I remember an article in a Young Life magazine years ago talking about Young Life leaders being "Jesus with skin on."  This Epiphany tradition helps us take time to remember those who have passed through our door this past year who has been "Jesus with skin on," and we give thanks to God for them.  

This year, we got out the placemats that I made years ago that have chalkboard paint on them and we wrote all the people who came to mind who have come through our doors.  




CMB helps us remember the visit of the kings, Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar that we celebrate on Epiphany. Or some say that C M B stands for Christus Mansionem Benedicat, May Christ bless this house.  The numbers represent the year, 2016. 

The words that we read together are beautiful ways to begin the new year: 
"Make this house a shelter in the storm and a haven of rest for all in need of your warmth and care. And when we go out from this place, may we never lose sight of that Epiphany star."


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