By Editor, Feb 13 2018 09:00PM
Spring is on the way! Winter is half over.
February 2nd is a very important date. For Christian folk - a feast day this one remembering the Presentation of Christ in the Temple. There Simeon recognised that he held in his arms the light to lighten the gentiles, the baby who was also the Glory of God’s people Israel. It is the last of the celebrations associated with Jesus coming in to the world. Now all our Christmas decorations, our cribs which have remained through the Epiphany season, must come down.
Lighter evenings are already a feature of life as Spring approaches, for this feast day falls half way between the Winter solstice and the Spring equinox. Winter is half over, March 20 is officially the First Day of Spring.
Somewhere in history the celebration was associated with the blessing of new candles, new lights for the still dark, though shorter, evenings. Hence the alternative title the day of the Candle mass, and another reason for the theme of light in the liturgy .
It is as well to remember that 40 days from the birth of Jesus Mary was visiting the Temple for ritual purification, hence the other title of this day Purification of the blessed Virgin Mary. Mary was undoubtedly a faithful Jew and so according to the Law (Leviticus 12) having taken Jesus to be circumcised after the seven days of her uncleanness were passed she submits to this ceremony thirty three more days later. If we remember this too then hopefully we will be resolved to be as faithful as she was. And maybe we will ask ourselves why it is that Christianity adopted the Judaic idea that all things associated with sexuality were dirty when it ditched so much else that was incompatible with our new life in Christ.
Were we all really “shapen in wickedness? and in sin did our mothers conceive us?”
For some of us surely our generation was an act of love.
*Pss 51 and 139 seem to be a bit at odds over this point