God is light and in God there is no darkness at all. 1 John 1:5
Forty days after his birth Jesus was presented to God in the temple, according to Jewish law. In the 6th century eastern churches began to celebrate this occasion as a thanksgiving for the ending of the plague. This was known as ‘The Meeting’, to mark the meeting in the temple between the infant Jesus and Simeon, who recognised that Jesus was the true light of the world. Later this became popular in the Western Church as Candlemas. The blessing of the candles to symbolise Christ, the true light of the world, has become the distinctive feature, and is a fitting thing to do near the start of Imbolc, the Celtic season of light.
The strongest attraction of Candlemas is the ‘bitter-sweet’ nature of what it celebrates. It is a feast day, and the revelation of the child Jesus in the temple, greeted by Simeon and Anna, calls for rejoicing. Nevertheless, the prophetic words of Simeon, which speak of the falling and rising of many and the sword that will pierce, lead on to the passion and Easter … It is as if we say, on 2 February, ‘One last look back at Christmas, and now, turn towards the Cross.’
Adapted from the Church of England’s – The Promise of His Glory
Christ as a light illumine and guide me
Christ as a shield overshadow me
Christ under me
Christ over me
Christ beside me on my left and my right
This day be within and without me
Lonely and meek yet all powerful
Be in the mouth of each to whom I speak
In the mouth of each who speaks to me
Christ as a light illumine and guide me.
John Michael Talbot, after St Patrick’s Breastplate.
Your Holy Spirit rested on Simeon and he recognised your coming.
May we recognise you in our lives.
Simeon recognised in you the true light that brings light to the world.
Help us to receive and radiate that light.
Simeon foresaw that your mother would be pierced to the heart.
Give us the faithful love she showed at the cross