|Anna and Simeon seeing Jesus and His parents in the Temple|
Yesterday I attended Alpine Anglican Church of the Blessed Trinity, and as it was the day after Candlemas, otherwise known as The Presentation of Christ in the Temple OR The Purification of Mary--all of which are celebrated on February 2 (yep, the same day as Groundhog Day), we celebrated Candlemas during our weekly Healing Service.
But what is Candlemas exactly?
The site ChurchYear.net defines Candlemas as "The Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, traditionally called Candlemas, commemorates the presentation of Christ in the temple, and the ritual purification of the Virgin Mary. The feast falls on February 2nd."
Basically, Candlemas marks forty days after Christ's birth when Mary went to the Temple to be purified after giving birth to her firstborn. We read about this day in the Second Chapter of the Gospel of Saint Luke (verses 22-39) which was one of our Scripture readings yesterday in the English Standard Version (ESV):
And when they had performed everything according to the Law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth.
Here's a wonderful explanation of the Holy Day of Candlemas from Project Britain: Candlemas Day.
Pope John Paul II gave this wisdom in one of his homilies:
"Be light and comfort to everyone you meet. Like lighted candles, burn with the love of Christ. Spend yourselves for him, spreading the Gospel of his love everywhere. Through your witness the eyes of many men and women of our time will also be able to see the salvation prepared by God 'in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.'"
And here is the Collect for The Presentation of Christ in the Temple from The Book of Common Prayer 2011:
ALMIGHTY and ever-living God, we ask that, as your eternal Son was presented in the temple, we may be presented to you with pure and clean hearts by your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord; Who lives and rules with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (References: Luke 2.23-30; Galatians 4.4; Psalm 24.3-4; Revelation 1.6)
So have a wonderful 5th Week After Epiphany as we approach the pre-Lenten season!
Soli Deo Gloria,