31 Comments

Thank you for writing this with its rich history and for sharing John Swanson's art. I used his art over the period of a year to teach my congregation about some of our traditions and ceremonies. I love Candlemas.

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founding

A wonderful post, Diana! . . . I love the image you shared! I think that I remember it from an old issue of Reformed Worship Journal. (I used the Journal to guide my worship preparation during 15+ years of pastoring at an American Baptist church in the SF Bay Area - only part of a long life story that I am struggling to understand) . . . I have two thoughts from my personal dark of the night meditations. First. I imagine that Van Gogh's "Starry Night" was painted as a depiction of a "current state of affairs" but I engage it now as a prophecy of a future which is now. Second. Jesus also said, "You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot." (This is actually the beginning of the Matthew 5 passage we will read this Sunday...which I discovered a few minutes ago when I searched my concordance for "You are the salt of the earth"!) . . . My heartfelt prayer: Dearest Jesus, "Help me please to carry this candle against the wind."

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Chinese New Year, Lunar New Year, is named by Chinese, “Spring Festival.” It’s based on the lunar rather than the Gregorian calendar, so it doesn’t always fall on February 2, though sometimes it does. Still, the idea that we are halfway to spring is part of the celebration. Spring Festival is like American Thanksgiving, a family holiday. People make arduous trips to return to their ancestral homes from the mega-cities where they have moved to find work. They have family feasts along with other lesser holidays that occur during the two weeks of the festival season. So the painting of a huge parade of people carrying a light of love and hope might be appropriate also for this other “spring” holiday.

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I had heard of Candlemas, because it's my birthday, but I didn't know anything about it. It sounds wonderful to walk through town carrying candles and spreading love!

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author

Happy birthday! 🎉

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Let it be so.

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Feb 2, 2023Liked by Diana Butler Bass

We have had a print of that beautiful image hanging in our home for years. It was painted by John August Swanson. What a treat to see it show up and at the perfect time!

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If anyone might enjoy a song based on the St. Brigid poem: https://youtu.be/UvOWL_9gUu8

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I WOULD HOPE WE WOULD PICK UP THIS CELEBRATION IN THE NEAR FUTURE. NOT MANY PROTESTANT CHURCHES DO SO. THANK YOU FOR OPENING MY EYES TO THE DAY.TED

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Candlemas was new to me as well. Thank you, Diana.

I also love the painting of the candle-lit saints. I'd love to use it in our worship.

Do you know where it comes from and any copyright into?

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I have had the childhood learned song "This Little Light of Mine" running through my head all Epiphany . The refresher on Candlemas gives so much joy and additional meaning. I used battery operated Timer candles that come on early morning so I greet the Trinity and the fourth for ALL OF HUMANITY. Let the light within us all shine, Thank you for the focus Diana

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Would that we Christians were known as bearers of light instead of what we're commonly known for.

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February 2 was my mother's birthday (1925). Good Presbyterians-become-Methodists that they were, I doubt that anyone in the family knew it was Candlemas. But, in western PA, they would have known about winter and the slow recovery of the sun's light.

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Feb 1, 2023Liked by Richard Bass

Good Pennsylvanians, my family of origin DID know February 2 was Groundhog Day.

It's fascinating to me that as Protestant churches dropped the high-church holidays they ended up making their own more secular holidays to replace them. The Puritans thought Christmas was papist, but look what we got instead.

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I am reminded to light a candle tomorrow and to go into the world with Jesus as my guide.

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I had no idea that Candlemas is also Ground Hog Day. If the groundhog sees the candle then how many weeks of winter are left?

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I caught that too!!

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Yes! Too cute!

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We've had a particularly harsh winter in Denver this year and this reminder that we are halfway to spring definitely brightens my day. Always learn something new about scripture, history, and the arts from you. Looking forward to Empty Alters and the class with Tripp! Passing this light on to our spiritual study group--our last study was "Freeing Jesus" and special for all.

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I love the Mary Oliver poem. I had never read that one before.

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