Candlemas is a feast day in the church’s year, commemorating the presentation of Jesus in the temple. It falls on 2 February and is celebrated either the Sunday before or after this date.
If your church tradition doesn’t mark such occasions (as mine doesn’t) you might wonder – why is this significant to Anna Chaplaincy? It’s because one of the set readings for Candlemas is from Luke’s gospel and tells the story of Simeon and Anna in the temple, after whom Anna Chaplaincy is named. Marking these two faith-full older peoples’ encounter with the Christ child is a wonderful time to celebrate your own faithful seniors/members and friends, to highlight Anna Chaplaincy as a ministry and, for many individuals each year, to be commissioned!
We will be posting more ideas and celebrating new Anna Chaplains as they are commissioned in the coming weeks, but for now, here are a few thoughts about Candlemas:
It falls on 2 February, roughly 40 days after the birth of Jesus marked at Christmas, and roughly 40 days before Lent/Easter: it captures a ‘moment’ to look back and look forward.
It also falls around halfway between the autumn and spring equinox, during the shortest and often darkest days of the year.
In olden times, people would bring their candles to church on this day to be blessed; that night, a candle would be lit in the window of each house to acknowledge Jesus as the light of the world in homes and hearts.
Snowdrops are sometimes known as ‘Candlemas bells,’ as they are usually in flower at this time, and act as a symbol of hope, the first blooms signalling the end of winter.