Monday is Candlemas or The Feast of the Presentation of the Lord. On this day, Catholics remember the obedience of Mary and Joseph as they presented Jesus in the temple 40 days after his birth which was required by Jewish law. As the Holy Family entered the temple, Simeon announced that Jesus would be a light to the Gentiles. Because of this — and because this Feast falls between the shortest day of winter and the spring equinox — it is often called the Christian Festival of Lights. Catholics traditionally have their candles blessed on this day.
Some Catholics even keep up some or all of their Christmas decorations until this day. I think I might still have some Christmas deco lingering around but it was purely accidental! I do have our winter wreath on our front door which I will take down on Candlemas to signal a turn toward the coming light of spring.
Every year on Candlemas I roll beeswax candles with the kiddles and we have a tea party with lots of lighted candles, but this year I find myself out of beeswax sheets and we are facing a house appraisal in a few days, so I’m focusing on simple but meaningful this year!
A few ideas:
1. Decorated Pillar Candles
I happen to have a ton of tiny bits of sheet beeswax, so one idea is to use mini-cookie cutters to cut out shapes, then attach these shapes to inexpensive white pillar candles. If the sheets of wax are stiff, you can soften them a bit with a blow dryer. Here’s an example with an autumn theme but we could use floral cutters or trace out a flame:
You can also just wrap a glass candle with fabric and decorate it with sequins, buttons, or glitter. We made these sweet decorated candles (purchased at the dollar store) for Easter last year, inspired by Jerusalame Greer’s book A Homemade Year.
2. Crepe Dinner
I have to make dinner anyway, so instead of tea party I think I will make crepes which is traditional on Candlemas in Europe. During dinner, we can read Luke 2:22-40 (the verses explaining the presentation of Christ in the temple and Simeon’s announcement that Jesus would be a light to the Gentiles).
3. Fireside Reflection
Clean out your fireplace, then light a fire in your nice clean fireplace. Read aloud Luke 2:22-40. Talk about what Mary and Joseph must have been thinking and feeling when Simeon and Anna spoke about their child with such confidence. Reflect together on what you hope for your family for the rest of the year. How can your family be a light to others? Mary and Joseph had a role to play in salvation history, and so do we all. What is your mission as a family? What gifts and talents do you each have which might be clues to how God wants you to contribute to his unfolding plan of salvation for the world?