Feast of the Presentation, February 2
Scripture: Luke 2:22-40
On February 2, the church remembers The Presentation of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Temple. It was an ancient Jewish custom that women who had given birth to a male child should come to the temple to be “purified” 40 days after giving birth. It was also the custom to present every firstborn child to God in the temple. Today, we celebrate Mary and Joseph going to the temple and what happened while they were there.
While in the temple, a devout old man, Simeon, took Jesus in his arms and praised God. Simeon proclaimed Jesus “a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for the glory of your people Israel.” He blessed Mary and Joseph, telling them the child’s destiny. We now know these words of praise to be the canticle Nunc dimittis. In medieval times, it was sung as candles were blessed, lit, and carried through the streets in a procession to mark the feast.