CANDLEMAS - THE PRESENTATION OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST IN THE TEMPLE - DR. GIL HAAS, SAINT AUGUSTINE OF CANTERBURY EPISCOPAL CHURCH, OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA
This is Our Story
The Presentation of our Lord Jesus Christ in the Temple has been celebrated on February 2 (forty days after Christmas) since the 4th century, and it is called Candlemas in some churches. Luke’s gospel states that the infant Jesus was brought to the Temple forty days after his birth. Following a male child’s delivery, a mother was “unclean” for seven days. The mother must then wait another thirty-three days until she was considered “recovered”. After the “recovery”, the temple’s priest was given a yearling lamb (for a burnt offering) and a young pigeon or turtledove (for a sin offering). Being poor, Mary and Joseph offered a pair of birds for a burnt and sin offering. While at the temple, the couple encountered Simeon who had been promised that he would not die before seeing the Messiah. Upon seeing Jesus, he uttered a prayer that we call the Nunc Dimittis (“Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace”). Many Anglicans bring their candles to their local parish to be blessed on Candlemas. These blessed candles serve as a symbol of Jesus Christ, who referred to Himself as the Light of the World.
~Dr. Gil Haas, Saint Augustine of Canterbury Episcopal Church, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
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