This Sunday in the Church Calendar, it’s the Feast of the Presentation in the Temple, or Candlemas. Candlemas officially ends the Christmas Season as it’s the 40th day of the Christmas/Epiphany Season.
In Luke 2:22-40 “When the days were completed for their purification according to the law of Moses, Mary and Joseph took Jesus up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, just as it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord, and to offer the sacrifice of a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons, in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord.”
Today is a day to bring candles to church and have them blessed, and used the rest of the year. It is customary to have two blessed candles in the home for any occasion of prayer.
Candlemas also falls on Groundhog Day. Each year the eyes of the weather world focus on Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, to see if Phil sees his shadow. This morning, he saw his shadow, indicating six more weeks of winter. This tradition came out of an old English poem about Candlemas:
If Candlemas be fair and bright,
Come winter, have another flight.
If Candlemas bring clouds and rain,
Go winter, and come not again.
A word about the church calendar:
In the Catholic Church we celebrate Three birthdays or “Nativities.”
December 25th: The Nativity of Jesus Christ. On March 25th we celebrate the Feast of the Annunciation, which is 9 months before Christmas Day.
June 24th: The Nativity of St. John the Baptist. Note that the feast falls around the time of the summer solstice (sol –sun; stice-to stand still) when the light of day begins to diminish; recalling the words of John the Baptist with regard to Jesus: “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30).
September 8th: The Nativity of the Blessed Mother. Nine months prior is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception (December 8th), which the church celebrates as the day th Blessed Virgin Mary was conceived free from original sin.
To learn more about Candlemas, check out the following video: