Candlemas, if you look it up, has lots of traditions and celebrations tied to it. For one, if you got the prize in the Epiphany cake, you get to bring the tamales and chili to the feast on Candlemas (Candelaria). Another custom is to take down the last of the Christmas holiday decorations the night before. And the last of the Christmas revels cease. It's a quarter of the way to summer already. But it all comes back to Jesus. Our Lord, presented in the Temple by Mary and Joseph, is greeted by the prophet Anna and the righteous, devout Simeon. At last! At last! they say. The light that lightens all the world is come among us at last. Now I can rest my soul and go in peace. And so Candlemas, the feast of the blessing of the lights, is the feast of the Presentation, a major feast, a feast of our Lord. It is more than the end. It is the last feast of the great season begun the first Sunday of Advent, with its highest feast the Nativity of our Lord (Christmas). It is more than the end; it is a turning point. It is the beginning of something new, the beginnings of the dawning in our minds and hearts and lives in, yes, ordinary time, of just what that great season means: the light has come and lives among us. It is the light of all. Hallelujah! Now we go forth into the world, sent forward with the light shining before us on our path. Illumine our way, O Lord: may your Word be a lamp to our feet and light on the way. Amen.
We celebrate the feast of the Presentation, Candlemas, this year (with the bishop's permission) on the last Sunday in January.
For St Alban's Episcopal Church, Edmonds, Washington.