Sunday, January 3, 2016

A.D. 20 + C + M + B + 16

A.D. 20 + C + M + B + 16, is not code.  It is a traditional house blessing.  You write on the lintel of the door above the entrance to your home.  You may live in an apartment, then write above your door.  I've also seen it written above doors in rooms.  It's the spirit of the intention, not the exact position, that is meaningful.

The story of the meaning I heard begins in Germany.  Every year around Epiphany, children play "three kings."  They dress as the Magi and go door to door.  One child would carry charcoal or chalk.  Another would have holy water.  The third would carry incense.  The head of the household would take the chalk or charcoal and put A.D. 20 + C + M + B + 16 above the door entrance.  Then the holy water would be sprinkled throughout the house.  This procession was led by the child swinging an incenser.

Note that A.D. 20 + C + M + B + 16 begins and ends with the date of the current year.  It's the year of the Lord, Anno Domino, 2016.  The letters in the middle: C, M, B, stand for the names of the three Magi: Caspar, Melchior, Balthasar.

C,M, B, could also stand for the Latin phrase: Christus Mansionem Benedicat, Christ bless this house.

When the procession was proceeding through the house, a blessing would be prayed by the head of the household.  Something to the effect of:

we beg you to visit this house
and banish all evil.  May your holy
angels dwell here and keep us
in peace, and may your blessing be
upon us always.  Through Christ our Lord.

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