Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I greet you here in the Vigils (the Night Office or the night prayer watch) of Candlemas, also called The Presentation of Christ in the Temple or The Purification of St. Mary the Virgin.
So… Blessings today as we remember and celebrate the faithfulness of our covenant Lord shown in the Holy Family’s righteousness, St. Mary’s obedience, and especially in the presentation of our Lord, Mary’s firstborn, at the Temple. Today w also renew our acquaintance with the somewhat mysterious saints Simon and Anna who both remarkably recognize this infant child as Messiah, the promised anointed One.
Please go here to read more of the nature of this joyful feast of Candlemas. Candlemas is the third Festival of Light we have in our winter season assuming we live in the northern hemisphere. I have often wondered how the character of these celebrations differs in the southern climes where it is the height of summer. A lifetime inhabitant of the northern latitudes, I find myself grateful to have the darkest months of winter punctuated with three Festivals of Light. The first is the Nativity, the second, Epiphany, and today, Candlemas. These are the stories of the revealing of the Christ to others as an infant child.
Today is also a day to bless candles – those used by the Church in her worship services and those used in our homes. This engenders many reminders throughout the year as each candle is lit for any reason of this season of light where Christ, the light which ‘enlightens every man’ came into the world. Bring your candles for blessing if you can.
I hope to see you this evening as we celebrate Holy Communion and the wonderful life Jesus Christ our Lord.
P.S. FYI – The ‘three part’ night offices (Vigils, Matins, and Lauds) were once simply called Lauds and finished at daybreak.