Glencairn Methodist Church
Sometimes I think February is a "marking time" sort of month, a dull month when nothing much happens, a month which we hope will spell the end of winter and the beginning of spring (at least here in the northern hemisphere!). It is the shortest of months, probably to help it pass more quickly.
But it has its brighter moments. February 2nd is the 40th day after Christmas, and it is the day on which the church remembers the Presentation of Christ in the Temple. In Luke 2: 22-23, we read,
"When the time of their purification according to the law of Moses had been completed, Joseph and Mary took Jesus to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, 'Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord') and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord, 'A pair of doves or two young pigeons.' " [See Exodus 13: 2, 12, and Leviticus 12:8 for these Jewish customs.]
It is at this ceremony that Simeon prophesies that Jesus is "a light for revelation to the Gentiles". And so on February 2nd, a day which marks the end of the Christmas/Epiphany season, a day often called Candlemas, we give thanks that Jesus has come to be the Light of the World and that through him all men and women can receive forgiveness of sins and reconciliation with God.
Then on February 21st, we celebrate Ash Wednesday, the 40th Day before Easter. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the season of Lent, when we remember the forty days that Jesus spent in the wilderness before beginning his ministry. [See Luke 4: 1-13 and corresponding passages in Matthew 4 and Mark 1.] Lent is a time during which we can reflect on our own lives, seek to cleanse out our sinful ways, and to prepare for Easter.
So, 40 days from Christmas to Candlemas, and 40 days from Ash Wednesday to Easter, and in between we mark time, waiting for February to pass?
But you know, as I grow older, and bits of my body don't work as well as they did twenty or forty or sixty years ago, I am increasing aware that no day should be a "marking time" day. Every day should be seen as a gift from God, another opportunity to worship and serve Him who is my saviour and friend.
And there is also my daughter's birthday to celebrate on the 9th!
(4 February 2007)
NOTE - Previous "Monthly Messages" are archived at http://glencairn.connor.anglican.org/previousmessages.htm