Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Merry Candlemas!

Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in the sight of all the peoples: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel.
Southeast Alaska is not getting the winter storm pounding that the rest of the country is experiencing. Actually, last Wednesday was so beautiful the girls and I went for a walk to Rotary Park.  During this walk, I reminded them of the four “baths” that hygienists recommend we have daily (oh, yes I did),
1.       A rinse and good brushing of the mouth (twice a day)
2.       A wash of the body (wash cloth wipe downs count)
3.       A bath of fresh air for the lungs
4.        A bath of sunlight
My children and I can successfully accomplish the first three most of the time, with three children five and under…let’s be realistic, we are a little grimy at times…but it is very rugged I think (ha).  The bath of fresh air for the lungs ALWAYS feels so good, we take deep breaths, even though the girls sometimes blow out when I insist it is about inhaling. Deep and penetrating breathes!  The bath of sunlight in Juneau is very rare but there is hope for more of it…as Candlemas draws near.
The coming of this special feast truly hit home for me as the strand of icicle lights on our house were already lit automatically when we finished our walk that day. The lights have been on a timer to turn on at 3:00 pm during December when it was dark.  However, as the days grow longer, they are flicking on when it is still light out, not even twilight yet!   I have made a tradition for our family to keep our Christmas lights up until the Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord.  My two beautiful balsam wreaths with the lovely red ribbons are still very sturdy on our doors. Tomorrow, though, all must come down.  I wonder if our neighbors will sigh a sigh of relief as they realize that, no, we won’t keep our lights up all year…very tacky perhaps.   We will truly embrace Ordinary time and say farewell to any remnant of Christmas. I thank the Church for helping me keep time in this way, otherwise the beginning of February would be rather sober.  I even have a beautiful plate to put out this year on the dinner table that I found for a dollar at St Vincent’s thrift store.  I pray, let this plate be something my girls will find on a shelf in my kitchen in years to come and think fondly of Candlemas in our home. Dinner by candlelight, making sure all the Christmas d├ęcor is gone…even the arts and crafts on the kitchen door leading to the garage. Bringing our candles to mass so that the priest may bless them…my children are not grown and gone, but I am convinced traditions matter.
My thoughts for tomorrow, for this year’s Candlemas are lifted to this….
Ever so often, throughout my day with my girls, I find I am drawn to my bookshelf in our family room.  At one time I have a several books that I am reading, but it is always nice to peruse the shelves and see what strikes me, and my hand went to Rediscovering Catholicism by Matthew Kelly. I read about a chapter in, and was happy to find some inspiration.  His words resonated with me. People in society crave to see true authentic Christianity, and being truly Catholic is a lifestyle. They do not want to hear about your experiences, or your conversion stories…they want to see you live your life as an aunthentic Christian. They want you to SHOW them.  Thank you Matthew for the reminder and praise God you write so well, I was convinced in only a few pages.   January is a trying month at times, and the lights of the candles, the sunlight of these longer days, reminds us of our very serious responsibility as Christians to be a light to others. Merry Candlemas!