On Feb. 2 each year, a major feast on the Church calendar is somewhat overshadowed by a better-known event: Groundhog Day. Even though we all know the spring has a very specific scientific arrival date, it’s still temping to see whether the little guy in PA saw his shadow or not.
This day is also the date for the Presentation of Our Lord, celebrating Jesus’ presentation in the Temple according to Jewish law (Luke 2:22-40). It’s also known as Candlemas and is also the last date you can leave your Christmas greenery up for without feeling silly. 🙂
Obviously, there is no longer a temple in Jerusalem and the Church has never had a ceremony quite like the presentation of Jesus’ time. However, I think we might be able to identify with some of what this young couple might have been feeling, given the circumstances of their time.
God’s people, under both the Jewish and Christian covenants, have never been promised the easy path – if anything, their stories have been riddled with hope amidst adversity. During the time of the prophets in the Hebrew scriptures, there was a longing for the Messiah.
Conflicts between the civil and religious authorities or the melding of the two are definitely something that the people of Jesus’ earliest days knew well. Staying faithful and waiting in hope while living in a world seemingly antithetical to both had to have been hard.
Just as we know that spring will come whether Puxatawney Phil sees his shadow or not, we know that God’s redemption in Christ is always here, no matter what the world wants to hurl our way. Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.