Celebrated February 2 (February 15)
Old Testament: Leviticus 12:2-8
Epistle: Hebrews 7:7-17
Gospel: Luke 2:22-40
Receive, O Simeon, Him Whom Moses once beheld in darkness granting the Law on Sinai, and now Who has become a child subject to the Law. This is He Who spoke through the Law. This is He Who the prophets heard, Who for our sake has taken flesh and saved man. Let us worship Him.
The aged servant of God, Simeon, seeing the Word of God held in the arms of His Mother, understood that this was the Glory revealed to the Prophets; and he cried, "Rejoice, O Holy Lady, for as a throne you carry God, Lord of the light that knows no evening and King of Peace."
From the Vespers and Matins of the feast.
Forty days after Christ was born he was presented to God in the Jerusalem Temple according to the Law of Moses. At this time as well, His mother Mary underwent the ritual purification, and offered the sacrifice as prescribed in the Law (Leviticus 12). It is at the Temple that the elder Simeon and prophetess Anna, filled with the Holy Spirit, confirmed that the infant was the new-born Messiah who would "cause the fall and the rising of many in Israel."
In the service of the feast of the Presentation of Our Lord, the fact emphasized is that Christ, the Son and Word of God, through Whom the world was created, now is held as an infant in Simeon's hands; this same Son of God, the Giver of the Law, now Himself fulfills the Law, carried in arms as a human child.
The celebration of the Presentation of Our Lord in the Church is not merely a historical commemoration. Inspired by the same Holy Spirit as Simeon, and led by the same Spirit into the Church of the Messiah, the members of the Church can claim their own "meeting" with the Lord, and so also can witness that they, too, can "depart in peace" since their eyes have seen the salvation of God in the person of Christ.
Taken from The Orthodox Faith, Vol. II: Worship, by Fr. Thomas Hopko.
St. Joseph is shown on the extreme left, as an elderly man with white hair and beard. The Theotokos stands beside him with her arms extended toward her Son, Jesus. She is traditionally shown in blue garments. The doors of the temple are seen in the background, and the infant Christ is held by the elderly St. Simeon the God-Receiver in front of and above those doors. Behind St. Simeon stands Ste. Anna the Prophetess, who proclaimed on seeing the Christ Child that he was the long-awaited Messiah.
Taken from The Icon Book, by Boojamra, Essey, McLuckie, and Matusiak.
Rejoice, O Virgin Theotokos, Full of Grace!
From you shone the Sun of Righteousness,
Christ our God,
Enlightening those who sat in darkness!
Rejoice and be glad, O Righteous Elder;
You accepted in your arms the Redeemer of our souls,
Who grants us the Resurrection.
By Your Nativity, You did sanctify the Virgin's Womb!
And did bless Simeon's hands, O Christ God.
Now You have come and saved us through love.
Grant peace to all Orthodox Christians,
O Only Lover of Mankind!
The following prayer is sung at each Vesper service. It is found in Luke 2:38.
Lord, now let You servant depart in peace, according to Your Word; for my eyes have seen Your salvation which You have prepared before the face of all people, a light to enlighten the Gentiles, and for the glory of Your people Israel.
|Use the festal icon to relate the story of the feast to your
children, and identify each of the figures. Copy and mount the
festal icon, and ask your children to color it carefully. Display
the icon at your family altar for the feast.
||On the feast of the Presentation, we bless candles for use
all year long. This is to remind us that Christ is the "Light
that enlightens all mankind". Bring a homemade candle to
church to be blessed. It can then be used at your evening meals
during the afterfeast, until February 9/February 22.
||Discuss with your children the idea that Christ is the "Light
of the World". (He guides us in the way we should live. He
helps us overcome evil. He gives us understanding of the ways
of the Father. Explain that this is the reason for lighting candles
in Church, and encourage them to light candles at each service.)
||Incorporate St. Simeon's Prayer into your daily prayers during
the feast and afterfeast.
© 1996 by Orthodox Family Life and the original author(s).
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