||This festival has many different names. My favourite for it is Candlemas.
In the northern Hemisphere, it pinpoints that time which is a turning point
of the year, the first tiny, painful signs of new life, after the winter.
In the Southern Hemisphere, it marks the first turning to the Harvest of
the Year. The time when we begin to reap what we have sown, and to consider
what we may, or even must, give away; or cull out of our lives.
Jesus was taken to the temple, where his parents wished to make the
obligatory sacrifice.. two turtledoves, given to God, that their first
born should be redeemed to them. They were too poor for the more expensive
sacrifice. When the tiny, trusting Family went to the Temple, they were
not just dedicating their son's life to God, but their own. They saw themselves
as trustees, parents who were to bring up their child for the Lord.
There, waiting for them, was Anna. For her this was a springtime experience.
After long years in the temple, waiting, praying, praising, there was God
speaking to her telling her that at long last, this is what she had been
waiting for. She looked forward, even then, speaking of the redemption
of Israel explaining that this child whom they ransomed, would ransom us.
She had been widowed, as Saint Luke tells us, for fourscore and four
years, but her whole outlook is one of joy for her people, outward
looking, full of hope.
And there, also, was Simeon, who has given us through the memory of
our Lady, and the record of Saint Luke, words which have summed up so much
of our faith and our tradition. For him, this moment was the culmination
and the purpose of his life, the harvest moment of total and personal fulfillment.