Saturday, January 29

Candlemas:

The Presentation of the Lord


This Wednesday, February 2nd, is the celebration of the feast of the Presentation of the Lord. Also known as Candlemas, this feast marks 40 days after the birth of Jesus and is described in the Gospel of Luke 2:22-40.


Mary and Joseph took the Jesus to the Temple in Jerusalem to complete Mary’s ritual purification after childbirth and to present Jesus to the Lord, in obedience to the Law of Moses.


Joseph and Mary took the option provided for poor people, those who could not afford a lamb, sacrificing a “pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons”.


As they brought Jesus into the temple, they encountered Simeon. Simeon had been promised that “He should not see death before he had seen the Lord.” Simeon prayed the prayer that would become known as the “Canticle of Simeon”, which prophesied the redemption of the world by Jesus. Within the prayer, Simeon calls Jesus "a light for revelation" for all people. This is why on Candlemas we bless the candles for the year. In the blessing of candles, we emphasize once more Jesus as the Light of the World.


The Elderly Prophetess Anna, was also in the Temple, and offered prayers and praise to God for Jesus, and spoke to everyone there about Jesus and his role in the redemption of Jerusalem.


February 2nd is also halfway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. This is a day some cultures predict the coming weather. An old English song goes:


If Candlemas be fair and bright,