Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel. (Luke 2:29-32 NRSV)
It was with these words that the righteous elder Simeon met the child Jesus on the temple forty days after His birth. His mother Mary brought the newly-born God-man to the temple in order to fulfill the mosaic prescriptions regarding the purification of the mother and presentation of the child. There they were met by the righteous elder Simeon and the prophetess Anna. Upon seeing the infant Jesus, Simeon knew that this was the promised Messiah and Savior of the world. His long wait was over, and he knew that he could die in peace in the hope of life eternal. The Church celebrates this great feast on February 2nd, ending the Nativity season and inviting the faithful to partake of the “light of revelation” and the salvation that Christ brings to all through his birth, baptism, presentation in the temple, crucifixion, and third-day resurrection from the dead. In the commemoration of this “light to the Gentiles” the Church blesses beeswax candles for use at home and in church.
In our parish on this feast we very fittingly celebrated the baptism and chrismation of a new-born child. Through these Holy Mysteries the infant became a member of the family that is the Church, an adopted son of God, and, in short, a Christian. We wish may years of peace, health, and happiness to the newly-illumined servant-of-God Thomas and to his parents and godparents!
Below are some pictures from the feast, courtesy of Jim King. Enjoy!