I was having kittens today.
To be accurate, I got kittens today. On Candlemas. Candlemas cats. Of course they're still very small at the moment. We've been wanting to look after some very small helpless little things for some time. Since we went on holiday without our (now very grown up) eldest son and stayed with some friends who had a cat. It may have been the combination of being exposed to a cat whilst missing a grown up child. The onset of 'empty nest syndrome' can do strange things to you.
Candlemas would appear to be an ancient custom dating back to the 5th Century Church, whereby candles were blessed at the midway point between Christmas and Easter - a kind of church half term celebration that winter is half way through. A last look back at Christmas before we look towards Lent. The reading is from Luke 2:22-40 where Mary and Joseph bring their first born son and present him in the Temple according to Jewish custom, along with a sacrifice of two pigeons - a poor person's offering.
Of course every parent thinks their child is a little bit more special than the rest, but Mary and Joseph must have had an inkling that in their case it could be really true. Simeon and Anna, the two elderly named believers they met in the Temple that day knew it to be true. They were watching and waiting for the Lord's Messiah. Whilst others looked for a powerful deliverer they were attuned to the still small voice. They both recognised it was this baby who would grow up to 'cause the rising and falling of many in Israel' and a sword would pierce Mary's heart because of his calling.
Because you can't hold onto them for ever. It is always hard to let go, let them grow up. Children don't stay children for ever. And kittens don't stay kittens for ever.