Forty days after Christmas, on 2nd February, the church celebrates the Presentation of the Lord. Mary and Joseph, according to Jewish custom, bring their son Jesus to the Temple. There they encounter two old people: Simeon and the prophetess Anna. These two realise that this child is special. They praise this little child as the Redeemer of Israel (LK 2:21-40).
But do you know why this day is also called Candlemas? In the past, candlelit processions were held on this day and in churches the annual requirement of candles was blessed. The blessing of candles is a custom that still exists to this day in many places.
Is the custom of blessing candles still alive in your parish? If so, you could design a candle for your family and have it blessed in the church service.
What’s the point of this, you’re asking yourself? Well, I’ve got one of these candles, which we light each Sunday as our Sunday candle. It burns when we have breakfast or coffee together. We also light it when it’s a family member’s birthday. I also let it burn when I think of someone who is not doing very well. This candle, similar to the baptismal candle, is a special sign that Jesus is with us: on days in which everything is fine, but also, and especially, on days in which I’m sad or when things are not going so well.
* a candle – preferably a slightly thicker and medium-sized one
* wax sheets – you can find them in an arts and crafts shop
* a board for cutting, a cutting knife or a sharp kitchen knife (caution: watch your fingers!)
* optionally, a motif template for guidance, and a little bit of imagination
Cut out the motifs from the coloured wax sheets and press them carefully onto the candle. You can easily form letters and numbers by cutting thin wax strips and rolling them carefully into little sausages. You can shape these and put them onto the candle.
This blog is an extract from The Church Year for Children. This is a book to help children actively discover the church year. Containing child-friendly illustrations and creative suggestions for organising these special times.