|Presentation of Jesus at the Temple by Fra Angelico|
And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished,
they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord. (Luke 2:22 KJV)
Candlemas is an old Christian celebration of the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple. American churches generally ignore this and people focus on that groundhog. But there are suitable musical selections for the day, including Maria wallt zum Heiligtum (And to the Temple Mary Went) by Johannes Eccard (1553–1611):
and In Peace and Joy I Now Depart by Martin Luther:
The Nunc dimittis (Song of Simeon)
|Simeon’s Song of Praise, by Rembrandt|
And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ. And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said,
Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word:And Joseph and Mary marvelled at those things which were spoken of him.
For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people;
A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.
And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; (yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.
And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity; and she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.
And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth. And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him. (Luke 2:25-40)