The festival of Candlemas, or the ‘the presentation of Christ in the temple’ to give it its proper name, is linked to the point in the year that is exactly half way between winter and spring (2nd February). After the forty days of the greater Christmas period it gives us a final opportunity to look back at the events of Christmas and stories associated with Jesus as an infant before our face is firmly turned towards Lent, the passion, death and resurrection of our saviour. A pivotal point in the seasons and a pivotal point in our Christian practice of the liturgical year. In the Bible we read the story of Jesus being brought to the temple for the appropriate ritual, and at that moment Simeon, the visionary, declares him to be the ‘light to all the nations’ in his famous song the Nunc Dimittis. But there is a bitter-sweet aspect to this day of Candlemas, because the prophetess Ana is silent in the face of the enormity of what Jesus will face in his adult life, and Simeon puts it into words to Mary: ‘…and a sword will pierce your own soul too’. This bitter-sweet aspect is brought out for us in the procession of candles at the end of our service: we are embarking on a journey, a journey of joy and penitence with one last look back at Christmas and now go towards the cross!