On Sunday, we celebrated the Presentation of Jesus in the temple in Jerusalem. In the ancient tradition, forty days after a child’s birth, he is presented to God & if he is the first born, the family ceremonially “buys him back” from God for 5 shekels, because by tradition, all first born males as God’s possessions. At the same time, with the offering of the poor, two doves, Mary is welcomed back into social and liturgical life following her son’s birth.
To remind us of this ancient ritual, candles are distributed to the congregation to burn during the evening meal. “The light shines in the darkness” (of February) & “the darkness does not overcome it.” (John 1: 5)