From The Rectory

In our church calendar, February begins with the feast of Candlemas – or the Presentation of Christ in the Temple. We tell the story of a tiny baby Jesus being taken to the great Temple in Jerusalem by his young mother and her husband to be dedicated to God with the giving of a sacrifice. While they are there two elderly holy people meet them, Simeon and Anna. Both recognise that Jesus is the one God’s people have been waiting for – the one to set them free. Simeon takes Jesus in his arms and cries out in joy to God, that he has seen God keep his promise, so will be able to die in peace. Anna, spreads the news of Jesus amongst all those she meets.

Simeon calls Jesus “a light to lighten the nations” and so the feast was traditionally kept by filling the church with light – hence the name “Candlemas” – and the candles that would light the church for the coming year were blessed. He also foretells the cost of Jesus’ role in setting us free – he tells Mary that Jesus will meet opposition, and her own heart will be broken. This is a feast that is full of light, but that does not underestimate the dark and difficult times.

A light-filled feast that is realistic about challenge is well-timed in February, a month which, some people can find quite difficult – it can be dismal, and chilly and a bit of an “in between time”.

I wonder how Candlemas might help us to live this February well? Perhaps by reflecting on where we find light in our lives, and how we can hold that light for others I think it is very interesting that Luke, who tells the story of the visit to the Temple in his gospel, says very little about the sacrifice they went to make, but focuses on the picture of the gathered group of people afterwards- this is where the light and the holiness of the story is for him.

There is the tiny baby revealing what God is like in a human being, there is a teenage mother pouring all her love into caring for her child, a man who is providing support and strength, and an older man and woman in their senior years, giving meaning to the whole scene with their wisdom. Each, in their own way carries a light for the others, so they can find at their centre Jesus, the light for the nations.

Might this picture, inspire us, in our families, churches, schools and communities to value the light that all those around us bring into our lives, and to have the courage to let our own light shine for them?

God bless



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