Candlemas : The Presentation of Christ in the Temple Sunday 31 January 2016

The Presentation in the Temple by the Master of the Life of the Virgin c. 1460-75 National Gallery, London

The season of joyful celebration that begins at Christmas continues through the successive Sundays of Epiphany, and the festal cycle ends only with the Feast of the Presentation (Candlemas).The child who has been manifested to the Magi at his birth is now recognized by Simeon and Anna, when he comes to be presented in theTemple according to the Law of Israel. He is both ‘a light to lighten the Gentiles’ and ‘the glory of God’s people Israel’. But the redemption he will bring must be won through suffering; the Incarnation is directed to the Passion; and Simeon’s final words move our attention away from the celebration of Christmas and towards the mysteries of Easter. 

Candlemas at St Jude's 2012
Candlemas at St Jude's 2012
Photos by Sohrab Kavir

Lord God, the springing source of everlasting light, pour into the hearts of your faithful people
the brilliance of your eternal splendour,
that we, who by these kindling flames
light up this temple to your glory,
may have the darkness of our souls dispelled, and so be counted worthy to stand before you in that eternal city where you live and reign, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

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