03 February 2011

The Purification of Mary and Presentation of Our Lord (February 2)

And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every male who first opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”) 24 and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.” 25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ. 27 And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, 28 he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said,
29 “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace,
according to your word;
30 for my eyes have seen your salvation
31 that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and for glory to your people Israel.”                                    Luke 2:22-32

Hymns: Variations on the Nunc Dimittis (LSB 937, 938); TLH 131

(Found another wonderful art resource: biblical-art.com)

Candlemas, as the Presentation was popularly called in the West, is the hinge where we swing from thoughts primarily of the Incarnation to thoughts of the Crucifixion. (Of course, the two can never be completely separated.)  It is the end of the Christmas season!

We are still in Epiphany, and the canticles of Simeon (and Anna) in Luke 2 reveal to us who the Christ child really is (God's incarnation we celebrate at Christmas and Epiphany), and what he will do (save us from our sins by his work on the cross and resurrection, which we celebrate at Easter).

It was popular in the Western church to hold processions, carrying candles to be blessed at the service (hence "Candlemas").

Activities and Lore:

Coloring page!

Traditional Candlemas recipes:
Crepes in France.  These are only to be eaten after 8pm, and if the crepe-maker can flip a crepe successfully while holding a coin in his other hand, the family will have success all year.

Tamales in Central and South America.  Whoever gets the coin (or metal doll) in their piece of Rosca De Reyes (a version of King's Cake) on the eve of Epiphany has to make the tamales and throw a party on Candlemas.

Our Groundhog Day grew out of older Candlemas superstitions ("If Candlemas Day is clear and bright, winter will have another bite.  If Candlemas brings cloud and rain, winter is gone and will not come again").  I guess we in the Midwest are safe.  Spring is coming early :)

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