Monday, February 02, 2009

How Many Days Until Spring? – Lawrence

Already, we are into the second month of 2009 and many people are checking to see if the groundhog will see his shadow or not in order to estimate how much longer it will be before we can expect spring weather to come upon us.

Canadians are avid trackers of the weather—I look at the Environment Canada Web site several times a day for the local forecast. This year, when the long-range forecast was not to our liking, many of us resorted to checking The Farmer’s Almanac in the hopes that it would give us a less cold and snowy outlook. The Almanac did give us a better forecast but, so far, it has not been correct.

Though February 2nd is not an official Canadian holiday, Groundhog Day is well remembered on the news channels. It gives us something to look forward to in the way of good weather prospects—or something to complain about if spring is not promised as soon as we had hoped.

In the church calendar, February 2nd has two celebratory feasts. Both are to do with the birth of Christ and both are recorded in the Gospel of St. Luke, chapter 2. One is the Presentation of Our Lord in the Temple; the other is the Purification of Mary, mother of Jesus, following the birth of her son. A Jewish woman is in semi-seclusion for 40 days after giving birth to a son and, counting from December 25th for 40 days, we come to February 2nd, on which day, Mary presents herself to God in the Temple, as is customary, for purification; at the same time, Jesus is presented by Mary and Joseph to be ransomed or redeemed from God as the first-born male in the family.

Sometimes, this Feast Day is called Candlemas because of an old Bible reading used during the service: [The Lord] will search Jerusalem with candles. Zephaniah 1: 12
Both the secular holiday of Groundhog Day and the religious holidays of Presentation and Purification are full of light—Groundhog Day searches for the return of the light of lengthening spring days, and the feasts of Presentation and Purification wait for the coming of spiritual and holy light into our lives.

We give thanks for Christ, the light of our lives and for the lengthening daylight as we approach spring time.

© Judith Lawrence
Glorious Autumn Days: Meditations for the Wisdom Years by Judith Lawrence, available at

1 comment:

Peter Black said...

Lovely informative piece, Judith.
You taught me something I didn't know before, regarding Candlemas and what it represents.

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