Presentation, Purification and Groundhogs
Today is the day in the church year when we remember Mary and Joseph bringing the baby Jesus to the temple for the customary coming out of both mother and child. Again I quote from James Keifer's piece in the Satucket lectionary.
FEAST OF THE PRESENTATION OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST
FEAST OF THE PURIFICATION OF THE VIRGIN CANDLEMAS DAY (FEB 2)
"The events commemorated today are recorded in Luke 2:22-39.
Counting forward from December 25 as Day One, we find that Day Forty is February 2. A Jewish woman is in semi-seclusion for 40 days after giving birth to a son, and accordingly it is on February 2 that we celebrate the coming of Mary and Joseph with the infant Jesus to the Temple at Jerusalem
(1) to offer sacrifice on behalf of Mary to mark the end of her seclusion (see Le 12:1-8), and
(2) to ransom or redeem (buy back) Jesus as a first-born male (see Ex 13:11-13; 22:29; Nu 18:15-16; Dt 15:19).
As they did so, they were greeted by the aged Simeon. In a Sunday-School pageant, I once saw, the narrator said, "And now Simeon bursts into a spontaneous song of praise, assisted by the Temple Choir." His song, called the Nunc Dimittis, has always had a prominent role in Christian worship.
It has often been rendered in verse.
On the other hand, Groundhog Day ("If the groundhog (or woodchuck, a kind of marmot, which burrows and hibernates) sees his shadow on 2 February, there will be six more weeks of winter.") is strictly a secular holiday, brought to the United States and Canada by German immigrants."
Here is John August Swanson's depiction of The Presentation, one of my favorites.
Read more about this amazing artist at the website above.
What in your life ended your seclusion and ransomed or redeemed you?
and, as James Keifer said, "on the other hand" how will Punxsutawney Phil's behavior today affect you? Shadows or no shadows? Be well!