Saturday, February 2, 2013

Candlemas Nature Table

Our nature table sat empty from the time Christmas was over until today. Mainly from lack of time, kids being sick and lack of inspiration. But this morning we had some extra time, and spontaneously made one for Candlemas.

Today is the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, also known as Candlemas. It is when the church remembers Mary and Joseph presenting baby Jesus in the temple, where he is recognized as the Messiah by Simeon and Anna. The name "Candlemas" comes from "candle mass" and is called so, because of Simeon's recognition that the child will be a light for all the nations. 

Even at age 9 1/2, the nature table tradition is still important to my son. I gave him and my 7-year-old daughter a few ideas and then let them decorate. She built the temple and he arranged the nature objects. (They had a few additional quarrels about what would go where, of course!)

My son's class at school rolls beeswax candles each year during Advent. Because we already have so many candles at Christmas, I usually save them for Candlemas.

Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus are from our Godly Play nativity set. Simeon and Anna are wooden figures from Young Children and Worship. Baby Jesus is lying on a bean-like pod from a particular tree that grows in the park near our home.

After breakfast we read the story of Jesus' Presentation in the Temple from the Children's NIV Bible, found in Luke 2:22-40. Amidst the squirming (lest you think that my children or anyone else's sit through these things quietly!), both of my children became very interested in the figure of Joseph. Was he really important in the life of Jesus? Why doesn't the Bible say very much about him? And how could Jesus have been conceived without an earthly father? 

After talking about these things, I brought up that Simeon and Anna recognized Jesus as the Messiah because they had been very close to God and "heard" him speaking to them.
How do we "hear" God's voice and how does he "speak" to us today? After some verbal wondering together, we then lit our Candlemas candles and thanked God for giving Jesus to be the light for the whole world. 

This the second year that we've done a Candlemas nature table. Click here to see the one from last year.

Linked to Eco Kids Tuesdays at Like Mother-Like Daughter and Organic Aspirations

and Waldorf Wednesday at Seasons of Joy


  1. Sheila,

    I love the use of blocks to create a simple temple! It is beautiful. What a special way to easily reinforce the Presentation in the Temple and the feast of Candlemas!