One of the many ironies of the Christian year is the length of the Christmas Season. We often talk about the 12 days of Christmas, but don’t realise that the Christmas Season
doesn’t finish until Candlemas (2nd February).
Candlemas is that time to remember the roles of Simeon and Anna – two very mature people whose faith and patience is rewarded by actually seeing the Messiah they are so longing to see.
Anna, a widow, has been living for decades on the charity of the Temple. Her reaction to Jesus is utter joy and an uncontained desire to tell everyone about Him. Simeon shows the peaceful contentment of the one who has been told that he won’t die before seeing the Messiah, and rejoices in this, whilst warning Mary of the pains to come – pains fulfilled in Jesus’ Crucifixion. Both Anna and Simeon are an inspiration to mission.
At Candlemas, there is the tradition of blessing candles (hence the name). Historically, Christians would have the candles used in their houses, and in the Church, blessed as a reminder of Jesus the Light of the World. A reminder to not only honour Jesus in our lives, but to carry the Light of the Gospel wherever we go.
Our theme verse reminds us of the priority given to mission emphasised at Candlemas.
We all have different gifts when it comes to mission. Speaking and explaining are very different gifts to the acts of charity or hospitality, but all contribute to God’s mission of bringing people to know Him through the death of His Son for us. Let’s all seek to use our gifts to proclaim Jesus the Light of the World. Derek