Heavenly Father! look down from Thy throne of mercy upon the face of Thy Anointed in whom Thou art well pleased. Behold, He is this day offered to Thee in the temple for the sins of His brethren. Let this offering please Thee, and move Thee to have compassion on us sinners. In consideration of His humility and obedience, forgive us our pride and disobedience, and grant us, that purified by His blood, we may one day, having like Simeon departed this life in peace, behold Thee as the eternal Light which shall never be extinguished in the temple of Thy glory, be presented to Thee by Mary, our beloved Mother, and love and praise Thee forever. Amen.
There are many ways to celebrate this Feast. If you're lucky (or I should say blessed!), you will be able to attend the candle blessing ceremonies at your parish and have some candles blessed to bring home, as it's become the custom on this day to bless the candles used throughout the year in the Church's ceremonies. If you're unable to start the day in this way, though, you can start the day with a pious commemoration, lighting candles on your family altar, or before an image of the Holy Family and say the prayer printed above or simply read from the prayers of the Mass for the day.
Then plan other fun things to imprint memories of the day for the children!
Many cultures have perfectly wonderful celebrations to make this day special. I mentioned many in this post a couple years ago, and linked to some more that included the history of the blessing of candles on this day -- as well as the customary crepe or pancake dinners -- in this post. Catholic Cuisine is always a wonderful resource, with a list of links for many different recipes and feastday dinners, as well as a lovely idea for a Candlemas Tea! Lacy at Catholic Icing also has some wonderful ideas for celebrating the day in crafts and goodies.
And then there are always coloring pages! The following prints, in the public domain, may be used to color: just click and copy to your computer, then print.
As the Feast of the Presentation officially ends the Christmas Season, we list it on our mental calendars as "last call" for removing all our Christmas decorations. Usually, by the second week after the Big Day, we've started taking down the peripheral garlands and wreaths; then, through the next month, we take down a little more and a little more until we reach "center" which is our big Nativity scene. Nobody ever wants to tackle this chore. It's a big to do, let me tell you! But by this time, we've also developed an emotional attachment to our pretty stable, with its trees and rocks and waterfalls, the little animals, the sheep, the Holy Family... It's a letdown for us all, removing it from its place of honor. Nevertheless, by the first of February, we know we have to tackle it. And it usually turns out that we're more ready than we think we are for the change.
|This photo taken before Baby Jesus made His appearance...|
It only took two or three hours today to get the whole landscape and the fragile figurines taken down and packed carefully away, then a little while longer to sweep and mop and vacuum up all the debris left behind. We're a little sad to see it go; the family room seems a little empty now! But, there's also a sense of satisfaction in having it all finished -- and the lack of clutter, the feeling of "airiness," and cleanness feels kinda good! It feels like we've taken the first step to a good spring cleaning. It's a sort of "purification" that we've begun. All right, and good, and in the proper season. A hint of things to come.
I looked it up, by the way: as of today, February 1st, we have 31 days until Ash Wednesday, and 77 days until Easter...