A few weeks ago I wrote about the custom we have in our house of leaving our Christmas lights up until today, the Presentation of the Lord (Candlemas), and the reasons for doing so. (See “God loves to light little lights”) Well, today is the last day of our Christmas lights. Even as I write this, I am facing two candles alit in my office windows that won’t be there tomorrow. I was bemoaning all this to myself this morning until I read the Second Reading for the Office of Readings for today and realized anew that you and I are and will be the ongoing Christmas lights in this world, in season and out of season. (Note: the Eastern Church refers to this feast as The Meeting of the Lord.)
In honor of the divine mystery that we celebrate today, let us all hasten to meet Christ. Everyone should be eager to join the procession and to carry a light.
Our lighted candles are a sign of the divine splendor of the one who comes to expel the dark shadows of evil and to make the whole universe radiant with the brilliance of his eternal light. Our candles also show how bright our souls should be when we go to meet Christ.
The Mother of God, the most pure Virgin, carried the true light in her arms and brought him to those who lay in darkness. We too should carry a light for all to see and reflect the radiance of the true light as we hasten to meet him.
The light has come and has shone upon a world enveloped in shadows; the Dayspring from on high has visited us and given light to those who lived in darkness. This, then, is our feast, and we join in procession with lighted candles to reveal the light that has shone upon us and the glory that is yet to come to us through him. So let us hasten all together to meet our God.
The true light has come, the light that enlightens every man who is born into this world. Let all of us, brethren, be enlightened and made radiant by this light. Let all of us share in its splendor, and be so filled with it that no one remains in the darkness. Let us be shining ourselves as we go together to meet and to receive with the aged Simeon the light whose brilliance is eternal. (From a sermon by Saint Sophronius, bishop)
This evening we will begin Mass in our chapel with a procession, each of us carrying a lit candle. I’m praying it will remind me of the true Light that dwells in me. Tomorrow evening at Night Prayer when the lights are dimmed in our chapel for the singing of the Salve Regina, there will be only one lit candle (besides the sanctuary lamp) and that will be the one before the icon of the Mother of God. “The Mother of God, the most pure Virgin, carried the true light in her arms and brought him to those who lay in darkness. We too should carry a light for all to see and reflect the radiance of the true light as we hasten to meet him.” O sweet Mother of God, help us to do so.