February is an odd month. The nights are starting to get shorter, but the weather is still very wintry. It is a short month, but it does seem to drag. As I say it is an odd month. When I was stationed in Germany it was the month that we all dreaded. Christmas was long past, Easter and Spring far in the future. Even the beauty of the German countryside, covered in snow and looking charming could not make up for what was a bleak time of the year. February was the month that I could count on to bring me more soldiers with problems than any other month of the year. As you can see, I’m not a big fan of February.
For many of us the highlight of the month is Valentine’s Day. Again, I’m not a fan. I like to buy Charlotte flowers throughout the year, rather than focus on one day (when they are really overpriced; you can take the man out of Scotland….). Before you take me for an old romantic, I’ve always found that buying flowers for my wife on a regular basis makes it harder for her to spot when I am buying them to apologise! Or perhaps I need to apologise more often than I think I do.
For me, the highlight of February is Candlemas on the second day of the month. It’s an ancient feast day of the church, celebrated in Jerusalem since at least the 4th century. In the middle-ages it was the day when the candles used in each church were blessed, hence the name.
Nowadays the focus is on the light of Christ shining in the world at this darkest season of the year. In church on Candlemas day we will each light a candle to symbolise the light of Christ in each of our lives. We will share that light with those around us until the whole church is aglow with light, with the light of Christ.
Our nation desperately needs that light. By the time you read this, who knows what will be happening in our country. It doesn’t matter where you stand politically or in relation to Europe; we all know that our country can’t go on like this. I have no idea how we are going to unite ourselves for the good of the country; so far, it seems that our politicians have no idea either.
But if each of us can be kinder to the other; if each of us can share the light that is in us with another; if each of us can care for our friends and our neighbours, maybe even care for those we struggle with, then our community will be a better place, our country will be a better place, and even February may not seem so bad.
So share your light with those around you and keep the darkness of our uncertain future at bay. And all shall be well.