The Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Presentation of Our Lord is also known as Candlemas. This festival which falls on February 2nd every year is the conclusion of the Christmas/Epiphany season. No offense to any brown, furry rodents, which may or may not see their shadows, but this is what the Church celebrates on this day every year.
This festival concludes the season of Christmas/Epiphany, which is the season of Light. Our Lord is revealed as the God who is born in the flesh of mankind, and He is revealed as the One True Messiah sent to redeem us. Hence, our Lord has come to enlighten this dark world, so that sin might be exposed, and we might confess them, and be forgiven.
It is for this reason, that this is the end of the season of Light, that the Church observes what has come to be known as Candlemas. In the ancient practice of the Church there were only two days where an evening observation of the Lord's Supper was observed, Feb. 2nd, and Maundy Thursday. Maundy Thursday was observed at night because that is when our Lord's Last Supper took place. The celebration of the Lord's Supper on the Feast of the Presentation was observed at night, because it was designed as a candlelight service, meaning the light of the candles would dispel the darkness of night.
There is a progression of light from Christmas, where our Savior's birth first shown the light in the darkness, then at Epiphany this Light was revealed to Jerusalem, and the Gentiles first see this Light and come to worship Him. Now on Presentation, that Light is placed, symbolically, into the very hands of the people, through their receiving of a lighted candle.
Purcell: Nunc Dimittis
Deacon Dulas is ordained into the pastorate and member of the Evangelical Lutheran Diocese of North America (eldona.org). In his own words, "My call is to serve as deacon and missionary-at-large to MN and WI at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Tony, WI. We are starting a mission here in Mayer, MN, and the surrounding area called St. Matthew Ev. Luth. Mission."
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