This tradition is an opportunity to gather with friends and family in the New Year and to lift up the ministry of hospitality as we ask God to bless our homes to be places of welcome and witness to God’s grace.
An old Eastern European tradition is to write the first letter of the names of the three Wiseman with the year in chalk above the doorway. Of course, the magi are not named or numbered in scripture, but tradition has associated each of the magi with the gifts brought – gold, frankincense, and myrrh and named them Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar. It just so happens that those three letters also stand for an ancient Latin blessing, “Christe mansionem benedica,” which means, “Christ, bless this house.”
Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart … and write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6:4-6, 9)