Sunday, 2 February 2014

Candlemas


This morning I saw the sunrise. I have seen it before, but not very often during these last exceptionally wet weeks of winter. What a welcome sight, what a lovely sign of hope after so much rain and storm, a brief shining before the clouds gather and the downpours begin again on our sodden land. I especially noticed it today because of the old saying that if the sun shines on 2nd February so that an animal can see its shadow there will be at least 6 more weeks of winter.
If Candlemas be fair and bright,
come winter, have another flight.
If Candlemas brings clouds and rain, 
Go, winter, and come not again.
Well, it looks as if we're going to have a mixture here today, some 'fair and bright' and some 'clouds and rain' so who knows what weather is coming in the next 6 weeks.

February 2nd is the day the church celebrates 'The Presentation of Christ in the Temple', also called 'Candlemas' i.e. the feast of candles. The old tradition began with a procession of candles and in medieval times people would bring candles to be used to light their homes and church during the coming months for a blessing of the candles. It is a festival of light, taking a last look back at Christmas, rejoicing in the light of Christ but seeing the gathering shadows as we turn towards the Easter cross.

The story of the presentation of Christ in the temple, brought there by his parents as a 40 day old baby is told in Luke 2: 22 - 40 which has the lovely stories of 2 faithful people, Simeon and Anna who each recognized God's salvation in the face of a baby. What faith! What eyes to see what others did not!

I love these words from Paul Wigmore's hymn 'New light has dawned' which many will sing today. It ends:
O Christ, the light who came to us on earth,
shine through the shadow cast by human sin;
renew the faith you gave at our new birth,
destroy the dark, and let your light come in.


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