Pause for thought: Candlemas
I have been thinking recently about the things that used to get on my nerves when life was ‘normal’. One of the things was rain and particularly, being outside in it. This was made worse by being outside in the rain waiting for transport. I don’t drive and so I am used to waiting at train stations and bus stops, often in the rain. To be honest the main problem isn’t the rain. After all I have heard it said, that there is no such thing as bad weather just the wrong clothes. Well, that may be true but no matter how good your coat or umbrella are it is still horrible!
I suspect that whilst I may blame the weather, the main problem is waiting. Whenever I have to wait, I get bored, I want things to happen quickly and in my own time. Waiting is not fun. When you are waiting you can’t get anything done.
On 2nd February in the Church calendar the festival often known as Candlemas is celebrated. It is the day that officially ends the Christmas season. It is the day when we remember Mary and Joseph taking a young Jesus to the temple. This was the expected thing to do. (In the gospel of Luke 2:22-40, we read of this event)
As Mary and Joseph arrived at the temple they were met by Simeon. When Simeon greeted them, he recognised that Jesus was the one that everyone had been waiting for. Jesus was the longed-for Messiah, the one who would change the world. This isn’t a surprise to us, and to Mary and Joseph it would have been just another unusual occurrence. They already knew that Jesus was different, they had known all along that God had spoken and they were to play a significant part in God becoming one of us.
Simeon saw that what he had been waiting for, God coming amongst us had happened. He saw that Jesus was going to bring light to the world, things were going to change, life was going to be better.
In the Temple, Mary and Joseph also met Anna. She had been a constant presence in the temple where she prayed and praised God.
Mary and Joseph walked in on two people waiting. Waiting for something better, waiting for more.
I wonder if Simeon ever lost faith ? I wonder if Anna got fed up ?
Either way, after life being a certain way, they saw God break into their world. They had waited. I don’t know how patiently they waited. On the basis of my impatience with waiting, I don’t think it would have been easy to wait !
At the moment I hear lots of jokes about, “well, I am not going out anywhere” or as I have said to myself, “I am going on an adventure today, I am taking the rubbish out to the bin.”
Life isn’t normal and in the same way as waiting for public transport used to get on my nerves, I suspect that there are bits of all our lives at the moment that are getting on our nerves.
This will all come to an end. We will all be doing normal things. Until then, I hope that I have patience to wait as well as Simeon and Anna.
The end result will not be the same. Rather than being introduced to the Saviour as they were, I hold on to the Saviour every day to guide me and carry me, but I am also really looking forward to being able to moan again about having to wait in the rain !
Revd Helen Rees