February 2 is the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord.
The Liturgy begins with this line: “Forty days have passed since we celebrated the joyful feast of the Nativity of the Lord.”
Forty days ago, many of us were gathered at table with family and friends, raising a toast, enjoying delicious treats, tearing into gifts, singing carols and enjoying twinkling lights… all because of the Child born, who has come to “meet his believing people” (Blessing of Candles Prayer)
How have the past 40 days been for you and yours? How have the days unfolded? Has the light of Christmas continued to penetrate your days and living? Has the Christ Child awakened you to new truths, new roads to walk and new hopes? Have you taken the time to hold the Christ Child and give praise to God?
These are the questions which I am sitting with at this Feast. The past 40 days have been full of rich blessings and yet a longing. The days have unfolded with moments which have caused great pondering and other moments which have lifted up my heart in praise.
I have considered the signs that God is at work in my journey and they are closely linked to the light penetrating my days. The light of Christmas has indeed penetrated my days for I believe the light of Christ always has a way of entering into our daily living. It is simple moments in life where I most see the light: a quote from a saint, a note from my mother, a hug from an Aunt or 2 or 3, a message from a friend, a niece sharing a story, a nephew beating to his own little drum, gathered at table with dear friends, a Brother who always stays calm, an insight gained through listening to my Grandparents, the joy of a wedding, the listening in heartache, the longings which surface in prayer.
The light of Christmas born into my heart continues to penetrate my living and I am working at being aware of it and how amazing it is. So yes, the Christ Child has awakened me to new truths and roads and hopes. He always seems to do this, and he always will – it is the gift of his Spirit dwelling within us; the promise of God entering into our muck and mess, our delights and dancing.
These truths, roads and hopes which I hold in my heart are calling me to be aware and to make decisions for life, so that at end of my days with Simeon, I too may declare: “My eyes have seen your salvation, a light for revelation… now… dismiss your servant in peace” (Luke 2. 29-32). With the Prophet Anna I too am filled with praise for God, for I know God fulfills my longings in ways I will never understand and that God entrusts me to hold his Son. It does not stop with holding the Child, for Christ the fulfillment of love walks with me in this journey and ensures that his Spirit breaths in and through me each day. My eyes are opened, my heart is ready, my soul thirsts and is filled up.
I share with you my own encounter with these questions not as a “let’s see how a Friar thinks moment” but rather to invite you to spend time with them yourself. I find that this Feast is a bit of turning point, we walk forth from the crib and the joy of the Incarnation now into the growing in strength, wisdom and favor of God as the faith journey of 2020 continues.
This feast reminds us that we are bearers of light and that we carry the Light within us.
Why does that amaze us so much?
Why does it amaze us that the One who is Love would entrust us to be bearers of Light?
Let us be amazed and let us carry this light with the dignity and designation which is ours. May the Light of the World continue to brighten our paths and give sight to our longings. May praise be ever on our lips in all the moments of the journey.
Luke 2. 22-40
Designated as Holy
we the people of God
for the Holy Spirit rests on us.
Guided by the Spirit
our eyes have seen salvation
light has been revealed for all.
Amazed with truths
our inner thoughts are revealed
piercing our darkness and living.
We praise God
worshiping and praying
growing in strength and wisdom.
The favour of God
upon Christ then and now
is upon each of us.
Let us go forth
the holy ones of the Lord
guided by the Spirit.