Tomorrow we celebrate the lovely feast of the Presentation of the Lord, or to give it its more traditional – and evocative name – Candlemas. We recall the occasion when Jesus was presented in the Temple 40 days after his birth. The song of old Simeon, which speaks of this child as ‘a light to lighten the gentiles’ is taken up in the liturgy as we bless and light candles. On a dark and damp day at the start of February we are taken back to Christmas with its lights and forward to the Easter Vigil and the lighting of the Paschal Candle. These echoes will help us through the rigours of Lent.
This is the day also when we make our final visits to the Christmas crib. The child adored by the shepherds and wise men is now brought to the Temple to be presented to God. We hear little more of him, apart from him amongst the teachers of the law at the age of 12, until he is a fully grown man preaching the coming of the Kingdom of God. Again the feast links us to his birth and to his death and resurrection.
Our world can seem a very dark place. We need to be confident because the Light of Christ has come into it. And that Light will never be extinguished. PD