Well, today is the last day of Christmas. If you haven’t done so already, it now time to take down the Christmas Tree and put away the Crib. Candlemas, which is also known as ‘The Presentation of Christ in the Temple’ marks the end of the Christmas season and we now have a couple of weeks before we start the season of Lent.
It is the time when we remember Mary and Joseph taking Jesus, who was their first born son, to the Temple in Jerusalem. There they offered him to the Lord as was required, but they also offered two pigeons, so that they could ‘buy back’ their son and take him home. It was a practice that reminded the people the first fruits of both, animals, humans and the harvest belonged to God.
It was while they were at the Temple that an old priest called Simeon recognised Jesus as the long awaited saviour of the world. He recited words which are known by its Latin name ‘Nunc Dimiittis’ The words are found in Luke 2:29-32.
“Now, Lord, you have kept your promise,
and you may let your servant go in peace.
With my own eyes I have seen your salvation,
which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples:
A light to reveal your will to the Gentiles
and bring glory to your people Israel.”
Simeon had been promised by God that he would not die until he had seen the Messiah, God’s anointed one – the light of the world. That is why the other name for this feast day is Candlemas as churches would be filled with light for this final day of christmas and remembering that Jesus came as light into the world.