|Presentation of the Lord
Today is the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, the last feast of the Christmas Season, a feast calling for readings from an Old Testament prophet, from a Pauline epistle, and from the Gospel according to Luke. In the past this feast day was called the "Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary," as Mary and Joseph and Jesus go up to Jerusalem "for their purification according to the law of Moses." This day, February 2, was also "Candlemas Day," when candles were blessed in commemoration of Simeon's great words that the child Jesus would be "a light for revelation to the Gentles, and for glory to your people Israel." So altogether, today is a festival of purifying the past, preparing for the future, and recognizing the Presence in our present.
As Jesus is Presented to the Lord in the Gospel reading, let's play with the words "Presentation" and "Present." I've looked them up, and they come from the same root as "essence" and "essential." Something "essential" reveals itself in our two main meanings of "present" -- the present as NOW, this time right here, and the present as GIFT given, for our delight and use.
Jesus is Presented to us in the Gospel of how Simeon and Anna recognized him as the long-awaited Savior. But we can look for his Presence in the moments of today, in the person in the doorway, in the work at hand. As I put away, rather sadly, the wreath that stayed up until this last moment of Christmas, I can also recognize that February days begin to grow longer; spring -- and Easter -- will come. But NOW, today, this moment is where I live and when I need my Savior.
Come, Lord Jesus, NOW, in whatever today brings. Let me recognize
you in that 40-day-old baby of the Gospel, in the words of our Scriptures,
in the hope in my heart -- and also in today's weather, today's list of
appointments and tasks, today's happy or painful moments. Jesus,
give me the Gift of recognizing your Presence today and each day!
And let me recognize and love the people you Present to me today and each
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