We celebrated Candlemas (pronounced Candle Mass) last night. This was a new experience for me…I’m not sure how I missed this beautiful celebration since I’m a cradle Catholic, but this was a first for me. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Candlemas, it’s the celebration of the Presentation of Our Lord when Mary and Joseph presented Jesus at the temple. They’re met at the Temple by Simeon who takes the baby Jesus in his arms and is finally prepared to die because he has now seen the “light for revelation to the Gentiles” (Luke 2:28). Simeon also foreshadows the crucifixion and the sorrows Mary will face (“a sword will pierce through your own soul” Luke 2:35). The prophetess Anna was also in the Temple and she offered prayers of thanks and praise to God. The feast day has become known as Candlemas since candles are blessed and lit in abundance to celebrate the Light of the World.
Since we were unable to make it to Mass, we celebrated at home. To begin with, we decided to wait to celebrate until our evening meal so Dax could celebrate with us. Joseph and I set up our prayer altar before dinner. Once Dax arrived home, we all sat down for dinner. Instead of praying our usual blessing, Joseph prayed the blessing for the candles (taken from Meredith Gould’s book The Catholic Home).
Then we lit the candles and ate by candlelight (Joseph thought that was pretty neat…ah, the simple things!). While we were eating, Dax read us the story of the Presentation of Our Lord from the children’s Bible.
After dinner, Joseph and I used our stick puppets to act out the story and we made paper “candles”. Finally to end our ceremony, Joseph blew out the candles (which I think he may have thought was the best part!).
Thinking Candlemas was over until next year, I packed everything away after dinner except the stick puppets. I put those up on the counter in the playroom. I was so delighted when Joseph found the stick puppets today and re-enacted the story of the Presentation of Our Lord! I guess he really was listening after all…and that makes the effort totally worth it!