Candlemas Eucharist & Blessing of Candles
10 am, Sunday, 28 January
St Matthew’s, New Waltham
The celebration of Candlemas — the feast of the Presentation of Christ to the Temple — is the final day of our celebration of the season of Incarnation. It comes 40 days after Christmas, on 2 February.
The story is of two old prophets: Anna and Simeon, who have spent their life and the temple, longing for the Saviour. When Mary and Joseph come with the infant Jesus, to make the traditional thank-offering for the life of their son, Simeon recognises the child as the Messiah, and sings a song of praise that begins ‘Now, Lord, you let you servant go in peace, for I have seen your salvation.’
Simeon’s song is sung at every Evensong, and read at every funeral, as we commend those who have died to God’s care. It is a song of the relief that comes in promises fulfilled.
Because Simeon sees Jesus as ‘the light to lighten the nations’, the feast became associated with candles. It is the day on which the year’s candles are blessed, and at times in the church’s history, there were long and joyful processions around church and town, proclaiming the light of Christ.
This year, we celebrate Candlemas on the appointed Sunday: 28 January.
There is a Eucharist for the whole of the Waltham Group, and all who gather, at 10 am at St Matthew’s, New Waltham. We will be blessing the candles for church, and also candles that the congregation brings for use at home through the year.
As always, children are welcome and there will be craft activities as part of the liturgy.