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Douglas, Alaska, United States
I have lived in Alaska since 1978, having come to Juneau as a Jesuit Volunteer. I fell in love with Alaska and now live on Douglas Island with my husband and two dogs.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Christmas is Officially Over: The Presentation Of The Lord

Icon by Charles Rohrbacher

Today, we celebrated the Feast of the Presentation of The Lord, also known as Candlemas.

The feast commemorates the Presentation of Jesus in the temple in Jerusalem, a journey of almost 93 miles from Nazareth.  The Holy Family would've had to walk the entire way, or perhaps Mary rode the same donkey that took them to Bethlehem, which was an 80 mile trip.  I like the image of Joseph leading the donkey carrying Mary and the 40 day old Jesus.

 The donkey was probably thinking: "Here we go again!"
Once they arrived at the temple (after a quick stop at the pigeon merchant to pick up a couple for the sacrifice), they completed the presentation and requisite sacrifice.  Simeon, a man who had been given a promise from God that he would not die until he had seen the Messiah, took Jesus and held him up and declared:

"Lord, now let your servant depart in peace, according to Your word.  
For my eyes have seen Your salvation, 
Which you have prepared for all people.  
A light to enlighten the Gentiles, and the glory of your people, Israel."

And then a prophetess named Anna came up to them and thanking God, spoke about Jesus to everyone there who was looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.

I can only imagine Mary and Joseph's reaction to all of this.  All of the amazing things that had happened to them before and after Jesus was born: angels, shepherds, not one, not two, but three visiting kings, and now this.  They must have been overwhelmed with wonder.  And Jesus, a little 40-day-old baby, was no doubt doing little baby-like things, and not acting at all fazed by all the fuss.

I love this story.

One of the ways that this feast is celebrated is by blessing all the candles that will be used in the Church throughout the year.  Families bring candles to church to be blessed for their homes and we light candles during the ceremony to remind us that Christ is the Light of the World. 

It is a beautiful custom, and a wonderful way to bring an end to the Christmas season!


  1. It was wonderful! I'm so glad we could celebrate together.

  2. I made candles yesterday with friends. Next year, I am going to propose offering this as an "event" and see if we can have a candle blessing, too.

  3. Wishes for a bright and blessed Sunday!

  4. Charles icons are so beautiful! I wish I could visit the gallery sometime to see them up close and personal. Visiting Alaska is on our bucket list, but I am not sure when? Hopefully soon! Happy Feast day!

  5. I love this story too. and try to imagine it in my mind. that is a beautiful icon!
    I a your newest follower..pls follow back if you can.
    I love your blog.


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