Feast of the Presentation
For some, Candlemas is the last day of the whole Christmas season. (Sometimes this is accidental - it just takes a long time to put away all the lights and decorations!)
To commemorate this day in church, all the candles that will be used for the year may be brought forth to be blessed, or people may bring their candles from home, or there may simply be a procession around the church with candles as a visual of the light being presented in the temple. Yesterday's Feast of Brigid also featured light - the bonfire. This is the true time of "bleak midwinter" - the midpoint between the solstice and the vernal equinox - and so it is hardly surprising that feasts during these days feature light.
Jesus, of course, is represented in the Gospel of John as (among other things) the light of the world, the light to whom John the Baptist testified, the light to the nations as prophesied by Isaiah. Even the Groundhog observance is connected to light, for the groundhog cannot see his (or her) shadow if there is no sunshine. (Our local groundhog, General Beau Lee certainly won't be seeing a shadow on this overcast and still slightly foggy day. For all the stats on groundhog/shadow sightings around the country, click here.)
The collect for The Feast of the Presentation:
Almighty and everliving God, we humbly pray that, as your only-begotten Son was this day presented in the temple, so we may be presented to you with pure and clean hearts by Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.