Forty days after birth the Jewish Law required parents to bring their first son to the Temple and offer a sacrifice. Luke's Gospel tells us that Jesus was met by Simeon and Anna. Simon sang a song we now know as the Nunc Dimittis where he described Jesus as 'the light to lighten the Gentiles'. After this he told Mary, "This child is destined for the falling and rising of many in Israel, and as a sign to be opposed so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed - and a sword will pierce your own soul too."
This is the day when we conclude our celebration of Christmas and turn towards Lent and Easter, turning from the Crib to the Cross.
The festival gained the name Candlemas as this was the day when each Church blessed its supply of candles for the year.
Choral Evensong with special music for Candlemas is this Sunday at 6.30pm