Candlemas Bells

 

Normally the snowdrops are out by February looking wonderful in both our Catsfield and Crowhurst churchyards.  I love snowdrops since they are a sign that winter is on the way out.  Snowdrops are sometimes known as Candlesmas Bells or the ‘Fair Maids of February’ since the 2nd February, Candlesmas, was the traditional time for them to come into flower.

 

Candlemas has always been observed from early times   Its popular name is derived from the candles which were blessed by the priest and given to worshippers at the special service that day.  In a time when candles were expensive that must have been quite a present to receive

 

But people never treated them like ordinary candles.  They were thought to be special, because they Candlemas helped people to remember how the infant Jesus was brought to the Temple by Mary and Joseph for His first visit.  Most people clearly ignored this ordinary and apparently unimportant family from Galilee.  But Jesus was recognized to be the Christ (the long-expected anointed one) by the an old man, named Simeon, and an elderly widow, named Anna

 

Simeon spoke of how Jesus would be a light to the whole world. A light helps us to see clearly, a light can bring warmth and a light can be a guide and an encouragement.  The candles blessed, at Candlemas, were consequently kept for the rest of the year as a reminder that Jesus is the guiding light of the world.

 

Only two people, Simeon and Anna, recognized who Jesus was that day.  Why did they recognize Him when nobody else did?  The answer must surely be that firstly they were looking out in hope for Him and secondly they were open to knowing God because of their constant prayer and worship.

 

God can break into our lives in dramatic and unexpected ways, but usually He makes Himself known to those who are open and willing to receive Him.  At this Candlesmas we will light candles, in church, as a sign of our trust in Jesus, the light of the world, and hope that our faith will be as strong as that of Simeon and Anna.

 

Father Michael

Posted By: valerie

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