The Feast of the Presentation, also known as Candlemas, celebrated February 2, forty days after Christmas Day, marks the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple, as told in Luke, 2:23-24 : “When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord, ‘Every firstborn male shall be designated as holy to the Lord’), and they offered a sacrifice according to what is stated in the law of the Lord, ‘a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.’” (NRSV)
Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in
according to thy word;
For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,
which thou hast prepared before the face of all people,
To be a light to lighten the Gentiles,
and to be the glory of thy people Israel.
Luke follows with the story of the prophet Anna, “the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher,” and “a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.” (KJV) She recognizes the infant Messiah as soon as his family enters the temple.
Come winter, have another flight.
If Candlemas bring clouds and rain,
Go winter, and come not again.”
Image: Jacopo Tintoretto, "Presentation of Jesus in the Temple," circa 1590.