This gentle feast closes the traditional Christmas “cycle.” Because it falls on a Sunday this year perhaps more people will notice it. If you like mystical feasts, this one is for you. It is like a jewel – it has so many dimensions.
The young mother brings her infant Son to his House, and the Lord comes suddenly to His Temple. It is a feast of the Mother who became the “bush which Moses saw unconsumed” as it burned – and in that image the Church acknowledges the preservation of her “glorious virginity.” It is a feast of faith: old Simeon, the devout, takes this Child in his arms and sings of “a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.” From this image comes the old antiphon: “The ancient carried the Infant, but the Infant governed the ancient…” The old man holds the Ancient of Days, the Holy One who governs all life and time. Elderly Anna the Prophet is there also giving her witness – loudly probably!
Is all this impossible? To our pragmatic world, Yes, and yet it is a sweet mysterious meeting of Faith – an arrival at the intersection of the old Covenant of Mount Sinai and the new Covenant of Mount Calvary. The world’s universal shipwreck is destined to be healed by this Child – when He returns to this same Temple in about 30 years.
(If you wish, look up Malachi 3: 1-4 and Luke 2: 22-40)