Candlemas

Candlemas coming up. This is the annual Christian festival which takes place 40 days after Christmas and commemorates the time Jesus was presented in the Temple in Jerusalem. The story is told in Luke 2:22–38.

The official day is February 2, and some people leave their Christmas decorations up until then, but we are celebrating it on the Sunday before – January 31.

At St George’s there will be a Christingle – see here – and at St John’s and St Mark’s we shall be lighting candles which will be ready for you at the services. You can pick up a cardboard drip-shield at the churches this weekend, and we would like you to decorate it and bring it with you on January 31.

On the day, Lesley Shatwell will be preaching at both St John’s and St Mark’s and there will be pencils and a sheet of paper on seats ready for you to use. She says: “There will definitely be creative, congregational participation – and it may be good to remember that ‘Creativity is intelligence having fun’ as Albert Einstein said, because we are going to have fun and everyone’s intelligent”.

We are celebrating Candlemas here online too, looking at how we can share the light of Jesus with others. Please bring your own candle and you can make a drip shield using a paper plate or other white card. You can bring battery-operated candle if you prefer. There will be craft at the end where you can make a candle to remember Candlemas and its meaning.

How to make a drip shield

Cut the card into a circle, or a square, depending on your preference, then make two small slits in the shape of a cross in the middle of the card. One cross should be enough but you can make another cross at a 45 degree angle to the first one, as in the picture below.

As you push your candle through the hole that these make, the card should just grip the candle gently. You can see an example of this here: https://youtu.be/DGTYIJv2peM

Decorate your drip-shield and you are ready to go.

Why Candlemas?

Finally, why candles and why Candlemas? Candles are a symbol of light and hope and the festival comes half-way through the period between the Winter Solstice (December 21/22) and the Spring Equinox (around March 21), so heading towards spring but not yet there. In pre-Christian times there was a ‘festival of lights’ then and the church combined this with celebrating the presentation of Jesus in the Temple, using candles at the service and blessing candles for use in the year ahead.

Top picture by Nicola Fioravanti on Unsplash.

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