20+C+M+B+13 (a house blessing)


This short liturgy is a way of marking our homes, usually at the main entrance, with sacred signs and symbols as we ask God’s blessing upon those who live, work, or visit throughout the coming year. Although the service is intended for use in home dwellings like apartments, condos, houses, and college dorms, it is certainly appropriate when adapted for use in offices, places of business, nursing homes, hospital rooms, and extended-care facilities.  On the Twelfth-Night after Christmas, many families gather in their homes to celebrate this Epiphany feast with friends, food, singing, and gifts. It is at these Twelfth-Night celebrations that “Chalking the Door” with this blessing is most often observed.

ONE: The Lord be with you;

ALL: And also with you.

ONE: Peace be to this house!

ALL: And to all who live here!

ONE: Let us pray.

O God, you once used a star to show to all the world that Jesus is your Son. May the light of that star that once guided wise men to his birth, now guide us to recognize him in the epiphanies of the daily experiences of our lives.  As we go about our work, our study, our play, keep us in its light and in your love.  May all who enter here find your gracious hospitality, for Christ has come to dwell in this house and in these hearts.

ALL: May Christ bless our home!  Amen.

(Each person present can take turns writing the following blessing over the doorway of the house with chalk)

20 + C + M + B + 13

(The letters have two meanings. They are the initials of the customary names of the Three Magi: Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar. They also abbreviate the Latin words “Christus Mansionem Benedicat”, “May Christ bless the house”. The year is divided before and after the these letters.  The crosses (+) represent the protection of the Christ.)


community curate, theologian artist, Bonnie's lover, baby's daddy, and God's beloved.

11 thoughts on “20+C+M+B+13 (a house blessing)

  1. Tinklygreen says:

    This website was useful but not all accurate because at the top it says: One: The Lord be with you.
    All: (you put) and also with you. It should be : and with your spirit! Other than that this site really helped thanks!

  2. crzydroid says:

    Since this article has 2011 as the year, I’m going to assume it was written on or prior to Epiphany 2011. This was before the Catholic Church retranslated the Mass into English to follow the Latin more closely. As far as I know, other Christians still use the translation: “And also with you.” You could have a debate about “should” as other languages, such as German and French have always translated the phrase as “And with your Spirit,” but the common English phrase until November 27th, 2011 was, “And also with you.” I’m a little curious as to whether “And also with you” in English predates the Novus Ordo, and if that’s the reason why it was translated that way in English (as evidenced by some Protestant churches using the phrase). I’m not as invested in that to Google it right now though.

  3. Jdevlin says:

    My understanding was the response  “and with your spirit” was reserved for clergy, and not for the laity. Because of their ordination, priest and deacons assume a position of greater responsibility in the Mass and we, the people, are supporting them, encouraging them, with this response. The same as when the priest offers the sign of peace, and we respond, “And with your spirit.” But when responding to our neighbor in the pew, it’s more like “Peace be with you.”

  4. Johndornheim says:

    In a Lutheran tradition, the more familiar response is “and also with you.” That is the response that most folk in the pew use.

  5. Hamzah says:

    SubhanAllah! My brothers and sisters in humanity, I must warn you, although I am lacking in knowledge; before indulging in these activities, read thourougly and understand. This sounds to me like sihr (magic, I think is closest meaning), and reading up on the meaning of this sign, and also who or what the “three kings/three wise men” were, it all seems to add up. Please know, that God does not need anything like this to bless a house, or place. Saying such is acts of disbelief.
    There is only one God, and Muhammad (peace be upon him), is his slave and final messenger.
    I wish not to create problems, or bad feelings, hope you will see it!

  6. FaithFirstAndLast says:

    You are concerned about how our simple language is ordered and forget that putting a symbol of God on your door to honor God would please him. So must this simple blog please him too.

  7. Simply Toast says:

    All prayer is magic. All religious ritual is magic.
    The breath that speaks the prayer is the breath that is given to the created, and in prayer is returned to the creator..
    It’s magic, no matter what creator you reach to.

    And, there is also the thought that all deity is one deity, but simply goes by many names, and has many prophets and teachers.

    Wishing peace on a person, or family, or household is certainly not going against any of the teachings, in either the Bible, Torah, or the Qu’ran, as all books hold that family is sacred, as is the dwelling that protects them.

    If the idea of using a thing to mark offends, leave that out, use only the words of peace.

  8. Mal N Jon Vives says:

    What’s the difference between 20+c+m+b+10 formula and I’ve seen it with 11 12, and 13 at the end up formula instead of the last number being 10 . I’m confused on which one to put over my door and do all the numbers mean the same blessing?

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