Candlemas is often better known in Catholic circles as the feast of the Presentation. Below some classroom hints on how to mark the feast.
THE FESTIVAL OF Candlemas is celebrated on 2 February. It is sometimes called the presentation of Christ in the Temple. Mother name for this day is The Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
There are very strict laws for newborn Jewish babies and their mothers. After the birth of a son, the mother is thought to be 'unclean' and is therefore not allowed to touch anything holy. Thirty-three days after that she is considered to be 'clean' and so must show that she is fit to be with God again.
She must give an offering, which could be a lamb, a pigeon, and a dove. If the woman is poor the lamb, may be substituted for another pigeon or a dove. When she has made the offering, she is purified. You can read about these laws in Leviticus 12:1-8.
Eight days after a boy is born he must go through a special ceremony called circumcision. The ceremony reminds them of their special relationship with God. A firstborn son is very special. He is believed to belong to God in a very special way. Parents must "buy back" "redeem" is the proper word their son. They would need five shekels. a shekel was a silver coin which was also a unit of weight (a little more than 10 Grammes). See Numbers 18:15-16.
Candlemas remembers the time when Mary and Joseph took the month-old baby to the Temple to pay the "redemption money" and to offer Jesus to God in his service. Here they meet two old people, ordinary but good people, who lived in Jerusalem. when they saw Jesus, these people immediately knew how very important he was or would be.
Due to its connection with Jesus, the Light of the World, Candlemas is being used increasingly as the time to hold a Christingle service, especially as it fills a rather quiet time in the Church's year.
Read the presentation ofJesus in the Temple Luke 2:21-40
'Light' stained glass windows Even the smallest child can take part in this activity.
You will need: • two pieces of clear sticky-back plastic each, the Size of your design • lots of different colours of tissue paper • a permanent black felt pen Design you own picture on the theme of 'light' on ordinary paper.
Make the design bold and clear; don't put in too much detail. Place half the sticky-back plastic on top of your design. Pull back the protective cover so that the sticky
side of the plastic is on top. You should be able to see your design through the plastic.
Tear the tissue paper into small pieces (not more than about 5cm across, not less than 1 cm) and place them on the sticky plastic to correspond with your design.
When the design is covered, stick the second piece of plastic on top of the design. this is quite tricky, so be very patient.
It may be a good idea to get somebody to help you with this. This should have made a "sandwich" with the tissue paper pattern as the filling.
Use permanent black felt pen to go around the design: this will cover any ragged edges on the tissue paper. Hang up your stained glass window. The light will shine through just lie a real window.
Some may like to symbolise light rather than use a candle. some may show Jesus as the Light of the world and others may make a picture of Jesus as a baby with Mary, Joseph, Anna and Simeon in the Temple.
Procession of candles HAVE SMALL CANDLES prepared by pushing them through circles of card with a small hole in the centre. This protects hands and other surfaces from dripping wax. Each participant will need a candle. Make the building as dark as possible, stand in silence.
Leader: Jesus, you are my light All: Shine your light on me.
A big candle may be lit on the altar or central table.
Leader: Jesus Christ is the light of the world All: Shine your light on me.
Candles around the central candle are lit from the candle and passed on to light all the candles whilst a hymn/song is sung (Shine, Jesus, Shine (Lord the light of your love) by Graham Kendrick is one popular suggestion) Prayer: Jesus, you are the light of the world. You give light to guide us in our darkness. As we light our candles we see the building fill with light and warmth. In the same way, as we tell others of your Good News, the whole world may be filled with your love, reflected by those who love you and try to follow you. Amen.
Taken from 'Children Celebrate', activity based outlines for round-theyear worship, by Joan Chapman (Marshall Pickering, j12.99).