February 2

Feast of the Purification
Candlemas Day
Reflection

The Feast of the Purification, often called Candlemas, commemorates the presentation of Jesus in the temple, which, as Jewish law required, took place 40 days after his birth. The gospel tells us that Simeon and Anna, two elderly holy persons, recognized him and proclaimed him with joy. Simeon called Jesus “ a light to reveal God to the nations ”. Consequently, this feast was made into Candlemas, a feast of candles. The candlelight is meant to be a reminder of that light which radiates from Jesus. We are reminded of our responsibility to burn brightly ourselves in the midst of a dark world. It is not our own light that shines, but the light of Christ which shines through us and which no darkness can overcome. This feast is a message of hope and encouragement to remind us that God is still within our world no matter how dark things may seem. The name Candlemas comes from the activities associated with the feast. It came to be known as the Candle Mass.

Prayer

May the light of Christ shine into the hearts of all people dispelling ignorance and bringing knowledge and peace.

Action

Light a candle and keep it visible as a symbol of the light of Christ in our world.
Let it be a reminder of your own responsibility to be a sign of light and hope.

Suggested Reading

“Now you let your servant go in peace:
Your word has been fulfilled.
My own eyes have seen the salvation
Which you have prepared in the sight of every people.
A light to reveal you to the nations
And the glory of your people Israel.”
Luke2: 29 -32

Words which do not give the light of Christ increase the darkness.
Mother Teresa

I hate to see complacency prevail in our lives when it’s so directly contrary to the teaching of Christ.
Jimmy Carter

Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.
Albert Schweitzer

We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.
Plato

As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being.
Carl Jung

Light gives of itself freely, filling all available space.  It does not seek anything in return; it asks not whether you are friend or foe.  It gives of itself and is not thereby diminished.
Michael Strassfeld 

What is to give light must endure burning.
Viktor Frankl

 

Candlemas Day was the day when some cultures predicted weather patterns. Farmers believed that the remainder of winter would be the opposite of whatever the weather was like on Candlemas Day. An old English song goes:

If Candlemas be fair and bright,
Come winter, have another flight;
If Candlemas bring clouds and rain,
Go winter, and come not again.

Thus if the sun cast a shadow on Candlemas Day, more winter was on the way; if there was no shadow, winter was thought to be ending soon. This practice led to the folklore behind “Groundhog’s Day,” which falls on Candlemas Day.

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