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Candlemas
(or Candelaria)


   

Tuesday Reflection

   

2nd February 2021


one of the least
well-known ceremonies


Light a candle
and give thanks to Jesus,
the light of the world.

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In Jesus was life

and the life was the light
of all people.


The light shines in the darkness

and the darkness
did not overcome it.


The true light,
which enlightens everyone

was coming into the world.

....(John 1:4-5, 9)


Among the various Christian
holy days that take place
throughout the year,
Candlemas (or Candelaria),
on February 2nd,
may be one of the least
well-known ceremonies
in the Christian world.

Evangelical Protestants do not
count it as a major observance,
while Anglican, Roman Catholic,
and Greek Orthodox churches
hold it in high esteem.

While it is customary
for Christians in some countries
to remove their Christmas
decorations on Twelfth Night
(6th January),
those in other Christian
countries historically remove
them on Candlemas.

On Candlemas, many Christians
(especially Anglicans, Methodists,
Lutherans, Orthodox and
Roman Catholics)
also bring their candles
to their local church,
where,
together with the
church candles,
they are blessed and
then used for the
rest of the year.

The celebration of Candlemas
originated in the late
fifth century as a tribute to
the light of God's glory
that was revealed in Jesus.

The earliest known observance
within the Church
was in the year AD 496,
during the time of
Pope Gelasius.

In AD 542 the
Emperor Justinian ordained
that the Eastern Church
celebrate the festival,
which he called Hypapante,
or "Meeting".

The name originated
from the Gospel of Luke 2:22-40,
where Simeon the priest
and Anna the prophetess
met the infant Jesus
in the temple at the time
of his consecration.

Simeon's prophecy declared
Jesus to be the Lord's
salvation and
"a light for revelation
to the Gentiles and for glory
to your people Israel."
and this passage continues
to be the focus
of the celebration.

During Candlemas,
candles are blessed, lit,
and borne in a procession
in celebration to Jesus,
the light of the world.

In AD 638, Sophronius,
Patriarch of Jerusalem,
proclaimed the importance
of the celebration in his
sermon to the church,
stating:
"Our bright shining candles
are a sign of divine
splendour of the one who
comes to expel the dark
shadows of evil
and to make the whole universe
radiant with the brilliance
of his eternal light.

Our candles also show
how bright our souls
should be when we go
to meet Christ."

The candles are generally
considered to represent the
inner light of Christ,
which he brought to
share with the world.

The timing for Candlemas is also
in accordance with
the Law of Moses,
which required that a woman
should purify herself for
forty days after giving birth
for a boy
(and 60 days if she gave
birth to a girl)
and, at the end
of her purification,
should present herself to
the priest at the temple
and offer a sacrifice
(Leviticus 12:6-7).

For the Church, however,
Candlemas remains a day of
hope and light.

It is a time to honour
Jesus as the
Light of the World
and to remind us that
we too have that light within us.

We thank God for
sending us light to help us see
in so many different ways.

Thank you for the moon and stars
which light up the night sky
and show travellers the way,
thank you for the sun which
gives us daylight and helps us
to see all the colours
of the rainbow,
thank you for Jesus
the Light of the World
who came to show us the way
to God our Father.
Thank you, Lord, for the light.
Amen


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It may be interesting to watch,
or just listen to a song
'Christ be our light
(with lyrics)'
via the link shown below.


Bernadette Farrell's beloved song
calls each of us to serve those in need.
Living in a world of
pain and suffering,
we have the power to
enact change -
with Christ as our guide



Blessings

Maureen