In the life of the Church, on February 2, we celebrate the presentation of Christ in the Temple.
It formally marks the end of the Christmas season (40 days since December 25th), and with Lent ahead, our direction changes from the stable to the cross.
One of the readings for today is this:
Romans 12 v1-5
I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.
For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of yourself more highly than you ought to think, but to think with sober judgement, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another.
The Episcopal Church (of the United States) offers this definition ...
A feast of our Lord celebrated on Feb. 2, also known as Candlemas and the Feast of the Purification. It commemorates the presentation of Jesus and the purification of Mary in the Jerusalem Temple forty days after Jesus' birth, in accordance with the requirements of Jewish law. The feast is celebrated about forty days after Christmas. According to the account of Luke 2:22-39, the presentation of Jesus was also the occasion of the meeting of Jesus with Simeon and Anna. Simeon's prayer of blessing is the basis for the canticle Nunc dimittis (see below). Celebration of the feast dates from the fourth century in Jerusalem. It was introduced in Rome in the seventh century, where it included a procession with candles and the singing of the Nunc dimittis. The celebration came to include the lighting and blessing of candles which were carried in procession. This feast was known as “Candlemas.”
Nunc dimittis (from the Book of Common Prayer, 1662)
Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace according to thy word.
For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,
Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people;
To be a light to lighten the Gentiles and to be the glory of thy people Israel.
And finally a prayer for today also from the Church of England:
Almighty and ever-living God, clothed in majesty,
whose beloved Son was this day presented in the Temple,
in substance of our flesh:
grant that we may be presented to you with pure and clean hearts,
by your Son Jesus Christ our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
THE PRESENTATION OF CHRIST IN THE TEMPLE