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The Presentation of Our Lord

Courtesy of Lesser Feasts and Fasts:

Today's Feast is sometimes known as the Purification of Saint Mary the Virgin, sometimes as Candlemas.  In the Eastern Church it has been called the Meeting of Christ with Simeon.  Such a variety of names is sufficient testimony to the wealth of spiritual meaning that generations of Christians have discovered in this small incident.

The title, "The Presentation," reminds us of the Jewish law (Exodus 13:2, 22:29) that every firstborn son had to be dedicated to God in memory of the Israelites' deliverance from Egypt, where the firstborn sons of the Egyptians died and those of Israel were spared. 

When Mary placed her small son into the arms of Simeon, it was the meeting of the Old and New Dispensations.  The old sacrifices, the burnt offerings and oblations, were done away; a new and perfect offering had come into the temple.  God had provided himself a lamb for the burnt offering (Genesis 22:8), his only Son.  The offering was to be made once for all on the cross.  At every Eucharist those who are in Christ recall that sinless offering and unite "themselves, their souls and bodies" with the self-oblation of their Lord and Savior.

Almighty and everliving God, we humbly beseech thee that, as the only-begotten Son was this day presented in the temple, so we may be presented unto thee with pure and clean hearts by the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.