February 2, 2017 Candlemas
Have you noticed the return of light? A little more light in the morning, light a little later in the afternoon – every day, a little more. It gladdens the heart.
Today is Groundhog Day, which is supposed to let us know whether to prepare for an early spring, or settle in for six more weeks of winter. According to Punxatawny Phil, it’s six more weeks of winter; according to Staten Island Church, it’s an early spring. And our own Tracey Bergstrand tells us that the groundhog under their barn is still fast asleep. So, who knows?
Since long before the predictions of groundhogs, this day is the day the Church has marked as The Presentation of Christ in the Temple,” or Candlemas, when Mary and Joseph, following tradition, presented their child in the temple for blessing. Old Simeon, a prophet, though blind, recognized this as the child long awaited by his people: “a light to enlighten the nations, and the glory of your people, Israel.” The words he spoke have come to us as the Nunc Dimittis, or the Song of Simeon:
Lord, you now have set your servant free * to go in peace as you have promised; For these eyes of mine have seen the Savior, * whom you have prepared for all the world to see: A Light to enlighten the nations, * and the glory of your people Israel.
Luke 2:29-32. BCP 120
In some churches there is a candlelight procession into the church for Candlemas, and all the candles to be used for the year are blessed. See below for links to Building Faith and Growing Christians. Both offer more information about this day, and offer ideas for how to mark the day at home.
The blessing for the season of Epiphany begins with these words:
May Christ, the Son of God, be manifest in you, that your
lives may be a light to the world
May this be true for all of us on this and every day.
Wishing you Light, Peace and blessing,