Candlemas: Candles and Worship for Families


Have you ever heard of Candlemas? Perhaps the name is vaguely familiar but you can’t quite place its meaning. You’re not alone! You’re in the majority even among Anglicans!

Candlemas is an old name for the feast our prayer book calls The Presentation of Christ in the Temple, commonly called The Purification of Saint Mary the Virgin, which we will celebrate this Sunday. It is the day believers traditionally took down their Christmas and Epiphany lights. They would then have candles blessed at the Candlemas service for use during the year.

So — what would one use candles for during the year? I’m glad you asked.

But first, I’d like to commend family worship to all of you. We have wonderful services of Family Morning and Evening Prayer right there in the back of our Prayer Book — both long and short versions. At the beginning of the Prayer Book, we also have a list of readings arranged for you so you don’t have to decide what to read every time you worship together.

As you prepare for your family worship, remember: kids love candles. They love lighting them and they love blowing them out. Dim the lights, have your kids light a candle, have a brief time of family worship and Scripture reading, and then have them blow out the candle. Family worship can be a special time to spend with your family; you will be surprised how much it will form all of you. It will set the tone for the day or end it on the right note.

This Sunday, February 2, we will all begin in the church at 10:30. Adults, children, and everyone. We will ask our children to come to the front of the church before the opening hymn and receive a candle. We will bless the candles, light them, and blow them out. The candles will be for your family to keep. Afterwards, children will go to children’s church and our service will begin.

I hope this Candlemas you will consider the positives of family worship and, perhaps, give it a shot in your family. See you Sunday!

— David Browder