THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK, February 1, 2019

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Tomorrow is Candlemas Day, also known as the Festival of Light.

February 2 marks the midpoint of winter, half way between the shortest day and the spring equinox.

For Christians it has a particularly special meaning as it was 40 days after the birth of Jesus and the day when, according to Jewish custom, his grateful parents took him to the temple to give thanks to God.

We believe that Jesus is the light of the world who will guide us through our own dark times.

Many customs have grown around Candlemas and one of the most interesting came from Scotland.

In the olden days, Candlemas was the day when children brought candles to school so that the classrooms would have light on dull days.

As time went on, gas lighting took over from candlelight and the children brought money to school with which the teacher was supposed to buy sweets for the children.

The child who brought in the most money was declared Candlemas King or Queen and they ruled for six weeks.

They had the power to make one whole afternoon a week a playtime and to excuse anyone they wished from any form of punishment.

I don’t think this will catch on in Argyll!

I think it is a lovely custom to take a child to church or temple for a blessing and to give thanks to God for their birth.

I have the privilege of being chaplain to two primary schools and while I cannot take the children physically to church or temple, I take each one of them to God every day in my prayers to give thanks for them and ask God’s blessing upon them.