Thursday, February 2, 2017

Candlemas: Hold the Light, Be the Light

Today is Candlemas, where Christians celebrate the presentation of Jesus at the Temple, and pagans long ago celebrated the goddess Brigid (and the feast day of St. Brigid was yesterday), and some Wiccans today will be celebrating at Imbolc, or a variation of any number of pagan holidays. It's also Groundhog's Day.  It's one of those times when we can almost perceive the shifting of the seasons.  It's not spring yet, but it will be soon.

Candlemas is the feast day that speaks to me.  Candlemas celebrates the presentation of Jesus at the temple.  It's the last feast holiday that references Christmas.  We could see it as the final festival of Christmas, even though most of us have had the decorations packed away since even before Epiphany.

This morning I'm thinking of Simeon, who held onto the promise of the Messiah throughout his very long life before he saw it fulfilled.  He waits and he waits and he waits.  But finally, at the end of his life, he does hold the Messiah, the light of the world, in his hands.

Simeon holds the baby Jesus.  Imagine it:  to hold the light of the world in your hands.  In so many ways we still do.  We carry the light of the world inside us.  How can your body deliver light to the world?

Some churches and monasteries will bless the year's supply of candles.  I love this tradition, although it's never been mine.  Today would be a good day to light a candle and to think about our own lights.  Are we dimly burning wicks?  Take heart--the Bible promises that we can still be useful.  Does our light burn pure and true?  Take care to protect that flame. 

The holidays of early February (Groundhog Day, Candlemas, St. Brigid's Day, Imbolc and Oimelc ) remind us that the light hasn't really left us.  Spring will be here soon.

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