The Meeting of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ
The Meeting of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ - February 2
The Feast of the Meeting of Our Lord Jesus Christ commemorates the Entrance
of Our Lord into the temple 40 days after His Nativity. At that time, in
fulfillment of the Old Testament Law,
Our Savior was carried by His Mother and the Holy and Righteous Joseph to
the temple, where a Holy Prophet, Simeon the Just, received the Divine
Savior into his arms and presented Him at the Holy of Holies. Liturgically
this feast is called “The Meeting-The Encounter” for it was at this event
that the Lord God, Our Savior Jesus Christ, first “encountered” the people
of the Law in the Jewish Sanctuary. The Holy and Righteous Simeon had been
promised that he would not die before he would behold with his own eyes the
Messiah. When he received Our Lord, he joyfully prayed this prayer - which
is properly sung at the time of Vespers:
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.
Candles in our Holy Church
For the Feast of the Encounter-Meeting of Our Lord it is a pious and venerable tradition in our Holy Church to bless candles. It is impossible to imagine an Eastern Church without burning candles. Candles made of beeswax are used in our Holy Church as a form of sacrifice and devotion to God or Saints. They are used in various Divine Services and ceremonies and are symbolic of Christ, who is “the Light of the World.” According to a different symbolism, the two elements of a candle represent the two natures of Christ: the Divine (the burning wick) and the Human (the wax body).
According to our venerable father Simeon of Thessalonica (XV century), the pure wax symbolizes the purity and innocence of people offering it. The wax is offered as a sign of our repentance for our obstinacy and willfulness. The softness and malleability of the wax speak of our readiness to obey God. The flame of the candle shows the warmth of love to God. We should not put up a candle just for the sake of the ritual, with our hearts remaining cold.