The Presentation of the Infant Christ in the Temple. The official end of the Christmas season.
The day when candles for use in church (and sometimes in homes) for the year ahead would be blessed.
The date in 2005 when I joined other women ministers to stand at the end of Downing Street singing hymns and shouting 'Make Poverty History'
Also the date in 2005 when Dibley BC had a meeting with our much-loved RM to discuss an emergency HM grant to help pay for my ministry
The date in 2011 when I went into hospital for cancer surgery (the more significant date being the 3rd when the deed was done!)
The date in 2012 when I celebrate another 'first anniversary' in my personal calendar, and recall other meanings and memories of the date.
Some of my friends despair of my tendency to remember dates (but only ones that are significant in my tiny world!) whilst others, now and then, share with me their own calendars.
I like the fact that the Presentation Story is one centred on old people who have waited patiently through the trials of life for the fulfilment of God's promise.
Whilst blessing candles is not on my radar, I like the sense of gratitude it suggests, rather than taken-for-granted-ness of simply pressing a light switch.
It is scary to realise it is now seven long years since MPH, and how much is still to be done for that dream to come true.
And at a personal the last year has flown by - everyday the physical scars act as a reminder of where I've been, but emotionally, intellectually and probably spiritually, I am a very long way along the road from there.
Looking forward to lunch with a friend later on, then a Bible study with a lovely group of women (a group of lovely women) and then to enjoying the new carpet that was laid yesterday!
I like that somehow it is possible to make or find conections between the personal and the liturgical, the private and the public, the joy-filled and the troubling. So, I like Candlemas.
As I pondered, I recalled this prayer from Crumbs of Hope, written for a Candlemas/St Brigid's day/Imbolc service in a teeny church in east Manchester...
We praise you for welcoming us into your world,
For the love and companionship of our families and friends,
For the people we meet when we're down at the shops,
For the acceptance and hospitality of our little church community.
We praise you for the crackles of fires in the hearth,
For the warmth and beauty of winter sun,
For the glimpses of new life we see in the streets around us
For the signs of hope we catch in the faces of people we meet.
We praise you for the beauty of winter,
For the cold glint of icicles hanging form drain pipes,
For the icing-sugar snow dusting the back yards of our houses,
For the new green shoots bursting up from the ground.
We praise you for the moments of fun and laughter,
For children making puppets and telling stories,
For the energy and imagination of local communities,
For the dreams and visions we nurture and offer tentatively to others.
(c) Clare McBeath and Tim Presswood
From Crumbs of Hope: Prayers for the City, pub. Inspire, page 20
available from BUGB or indeed, Clare and Tim!