From the Intern

Notes from the Intern…

 

Candlemas

 

I’m not quite sure how I feel about the month of February. I think it has something to do with its timing, the month arrives just as my annoyance towards winter does but always before the excitement of spring gets here. If we moved February a little later, my opinion may change but only to the detriment of whatever month took its place. Occasionally, we give the month an extra day to spice it up but even that doesn’t quite win me over to Team February. Yet in the ancient Church, February was a time that Christians stopped and thought about light. It held a moment of significance for their daily lives.

 

Forty days after his birth (Feb. 2), Jesus would have been presented at the temple in Jerusalem, this was where Simeon and Anna first saw Christ and began to proclaim his arrival. Simeon called the 40 day old Messiah, “a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to the people Israel.” Because of this meeting and the recognition of Christ being light, February 2 became a minor feast in the Church called Candlemas. It was a day when Christians brought candles and lamps to church and had them blessed. In this ritual, Christians considered the way that, just as light changes a room, Jesus Christ changes our lives. He gives definition to our reality the same way that light does. 

   

 Now although our collection is not extensive, Kari and I do own a few candles—they help create a cozy atmosphere especially during the winter months. Yet in a world lit only by fire, a candle was much more than a deliverer of coziness. To harness a flame was to usurp the rule of darkness over a home and that of cold in the hearth. Candlemas was a moment to recognize that God entered our world to defeat darkness and redefine the fabric of humanity. It was an illustration that was apparent when we were reliant on the flame.

  

 For the better, modern Minnesota is a more complex place than the ancient world. But in our newfound complexity, we can no longer hold the source of light in our hands. Many layers and substations exist between the wind turbine and my light switch. We continue to reap the benefits of light and heat but their origins are no longer as simple as when provided by a candle. And for this reason, Candlemas has largely fallen by the wayside—it is a ritual of a different age.

 

  Come February 2, I do not plan on blessing any light bulbs or power cords but I would invite you to stop and consider that which powers and heats your home. How would you live without it? How is God’s hand providing for you through it? And then consider the light of Christ in your life. How does knowing that God entered our world just to bear the cross and tomb change the way that you see and live? How do you honor and share that light? Especially in a month that is typically cold and dark.

 


Al Aakre

Luther Seminary '23

(608) - 799 - 9703