The Presentation of Christ in the Temple or The Purification of Saint Mary the Virgin

One of the things I enjoy about the season of Epiphany is how it shows how Christ was revealed in different ways. This graphic sums it up beautifully:

What is particularly special about today, which also known as Candlemas, is that two related things are happening at the same time to fulfill the Law of Moses – Jesus Christ is presented in the Temple to God (Exodus 13:2) and the purification of Mary (Leviticus 12:8).

Just as Christ was born of a woman under the Law of Moses, Mary the God Bearer, was not exempted from the Law. While Eve failed to obey God’s command, Mary obeyed God’s command.

Just as Christ was presented to God in the Temple, Jesus will present us pure and clean to the Father to be adopted as sons as  reflected in the collect for today:

Almighty and everliving God, we humbly beseech your Majesty, that as your only-begotten Son was this day presented in the temple in the substance of our flesh, so we may be presented to you with pure and clean hearts by the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Knowing this, we therefore can truly sing with Simeon in his canticle:

Lord, now let your servant depart in peace,*

according to your word.

For my eyes have seen your salvation,*

which you have prepared before the face of all people;

To be a light to lighten the Gentiles,*

and to be the glory of your people Israel.

Luke 2:29-32

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