Candlemas

Candlemas at St James's

When is Candlemas?
A long, long time ago, Christians finished the Christmas season on the festival of the Presentation of Christ in the Temple, or Candlemas. This is exactly forty days after Christmas Day itself, on February 2nd, and is celebrated on the nearest Sunday.

Mary and JesusWhat does Candlemas mean?
The mas part of the word means Mass or Holy Communion. Jesus is described in the New Testament as the Light of the World and candles are used in church as a symbol of this. 

Why do we celebrate Candlemas?
St Luke's gospel tells us that Mary and Joseph took the baby Jesus to be presented at the Temple in Jerusalem forty days after his birth. Early Christians developed the tradition of lighting many candles to celebrate this day and this custom is still followed today by many congregations. The Church also developed the custom of blessing the year’s supply of candles for the church on this day.

Simeon   Anna  

The Story
The baptistry windows behind the font show the story of Jesus being presented in the Temple. The centre window has the infant Jesus being carried by his mother, Mary (shown above right). The family met two devout old people, Simeon and Anna, who had dedicated their lives to God and who served him in that holy place. The left window shows Simeon, who recognised Jesus as light and glory and described him as the Light of the World. The right hand window shows Anna, a prophetess, who also greets Jesus. (See the two pictures left).