February 2 - The Presentation of the Lord aka Candlemas
The Presentation of the Lord can be found in Luke 2:22-40.
Mary, Joseph, and Jesus traveled to Jerusalem 40 days after Mary gave birth for a purification ceremony for Mary and to "present Jesus to the Lord," according to the law of Moses.
In accordance with Mosaic law, they also sacrificed a pair of turtledoves or two young doves.
A holy man named Simeon was told by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before seeing the Messiah. When the Holy Family came to present Jesus in the temple, Simeon immediately recognized the infant Jesus as the Messiah, and spoke the words now famously known as the Canticle of Simeon:
Lord, 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.
Simeon also said to Mary, "Behold, this Child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and as a sign to be opposed— and a sword will pierce your own soul—to the end that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”
This is the day when candles are traditionally blessed and lit in celebration of the feast of the Presentation of the Lord.
Photo by Sixteen Miles Out on Unsplash
Traditionally, you should bring beeswax candles to be blessed, as they hold special significance for their purity.
As this is also the celebration of the purification of Mary after the birth of Jesus.
Beeswax is extracted by virgin (young) bees from flowers, and symbolizes the pure flesh of Jesus (the unblemished lamb, the spotless victim) born of the virgin Mary. St. Anselm wrote that the wick of the candle is a symbol of the soul of Christ and that the flame is a symbol of Christ's divinity.
Buy pure beeswax candles here.
Learn more about the significance of candles for Candlemas here.
It's traditional to eat pancakes on Candlemas. I'm very OK with that - I'll take any excuse to eat pancakes, day or night.
The golden discs of pancakes are a reminder of the sun
(Jesus, the true light).
An old saying goes that if you ate pancakes on Candlemas, you would be ensured a good harvest in the coming year.
In Mexico, it's traditional to celebrate with tamales. In France, they eat crepes for the feast.
Learn more about the connection to pancakes and other Candlemas food traditions around the world here.
Photo by Dazedream on Unsplash
Copyright Be A Heart
Every night for Compline (aka Night Prayer) in the Liturgy of the Hours, the Canticle of Simeon is prayed.
It's a beautiful way to end the day - "now Lord, you will let your servant go in peace."
My family loves to sing it, but it can easily be read in 10 mins before bed.
Download Liturgy of the Hours cards here.
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