Sunday, 5 February 2012

Light Of Our White World

We have had heavy snow overnight! The only fall this winter so far. Just as I was starting to think spring might be on its way, God sent us a reminder today that it is most defnitely still winter. Oh, so cold! We even had ice INSIDE our bedroom, on the windowsill, this morning.

Unfortunately because of the heavy snow it was impossible for us to get to Church, so we had a home Church instead today. We re-read our morning scripture (we have Bibles-in-a-year for morning scripture with passages from the Old and New Testaments, Proverbs and Psalms, and a prayer also). Then we read scrupture based studies and listened to some praise music. After that, Papa Bear and the cubs went out to enjoy the snow - and came back with reports that it was SIX INCHES deep! That is quite a lot of snow, for us here in England. The weather forecast says that the snow should be gone soon as it is due to rain tonight. But it was pretty to see - everywhere frosted with sparkling white. Somehow the world always looks cleaner when it is covered in snow. And its purity and brightness seemed especially fit, for today.

Because today, our Church celebrates Candlemas, the purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, 40 days after the birth of Jesus. The actual date of this feast is the 2nd February but it is celebrated on the next Sunday in our Church. Like many Christian festivals, the timing of this feast day was partly adopted from the old Pre-Christianity celebration of the festival of light, midway between the winter solstice and the sping equinox. At our Church, candles are blessed and lit and a procession is held all around the Church with everyone carrying candles. It is a beautiful service, full of the light of God's love for us and the joyful hope of salvation. We really enjoy it. Tonight in honour of this special feast day, we shall have candles at our evening meal. I love candles and we use them often to create a calm and spiritual environment, but for safety purposes (and because they are cleaner and more economical) we have discovered battery operated candles, which are a great substitute!

Hail to the Lord Who comes,
Comes to His temple gate;
Not with His angel host,
Not in His kingly state;
No shouts proclaim Him nigh,
No crowds His coming wait.

But, borne upon the throne
Of Mary’s gentle breast,
Watched by her duteous love,
In her fond arms at rest,
Thus to His Father’s house
He comes, the heav’nly Guest.

There Joseph at her side
In reverent wonder stands,
And, filled with holy joy,
Old Simeon in his hands
Takes up the promised Child,
The Glory of all lands.

Hail to the great First-born
Whose ransom price they pay!
The Son before all worlds,
The Child of man today,
That He might ransom us
Who still in bondage lay.

O Light of all the earth,
Thy children wait for Thee!
Come to Thy temples here,
That we, from sin set free,
Before Thy Father’s face
May all presented be!