Celebrate the feast of the Presentation of Our Lord with a reflection and recipe for strawberry lemon pancakes.
by Ryan Langr
The Feb. 2 feast of the Presentation of Our Lord, known as Candlemas, is primarily a celebration of Jesus’ presentation at the Temple. In Jewish law, it occurred 40 days after the birth of the first child, and represented the dedication of the child to God and the cleansing of the mother.
As Christians, we recognize it as the fulfillment of promise: both Simeon and Anna recognize this child as the Christ. As the Liturgy of the Hours says, “your word has been fulfilled.” Israel has waited, and now the promise of redemption is at hand.
Candlemas is one of the oldest feasts celebrated by the Church. The candles represent Christ’s light in the world, “a light for revelation to the Gentiles and glory for your people Israel” (Lk 2:32).
The candle represents the anticipation of spring to come, and many believers have their candles blessed on this day to be used throughout the rest of the year.
One of the most traditional foods used to celebrate Candlemas is the crêpe. There’s some ambiguity about where this came from, but it likely came from “Vestel Virgins” offering cakes during a purification celebration.
Because I don’t have the patience to make crêpes (more on that later), I decided pancakes would be just as delicious and easier with my preschooler. These things are tasty: full of fresh lemon flavor. I love lemon, it reminds me of summer. The syrup is probably my favorite part, and it can be saved for French toast and other breakfast treats later. My daughter loved chopping up the berries (we have child-friendly knives), stirring the batter and watching me flip the pancakes.
One note: make sure the strawberries used in the pancakes are very finely diced or your pancakes will not cook all the way through. Lessons learned!
I am terrible at preparation and patience. I don’t wait for Christmas to listen to the music. When I have to make a speech I usually don’t write it out beforehand. And when I make a recipe, I tend to just assume I the ingredients I need unless I specifically remembered to make a note. It’s definitely an area of virtue in which I have to grow.
Pancakes should be easy, right? I didn’t have the patience to find the buttermilk in the grocery store, I ran out of vanilla halfway through (I substituted maple syrup, btw), and I didn’t buy enough strawberries (luckily I had a package in the freezer). In short, no matter how many times my lack of preparation and patience is a detriment to me, I still think “this time will be different.” It seldom is.
Cook, Question and Talk
This feast day is a wonderful time to think about how we prepare and wait. Here are some reflection questions while you cook with your kids:
- Lent is coming, are you going to fully embrace it? Or are you going to sit and
complainhow much you dislike Lent, how inconvenient it is, until it’s over?
- Do you slow down in life and prepare your heart, or do you rush through everything and just “hope” you’re in the right state of mind when the time comes? Personally, I think the reason I don’t take the time to prepare is
because I’mprideful, I believe when the time comes, I’ll have the power to make myself what I need to be. I don’t.
- What are your expectations and what has God promised you? Do you believe he will fulfill his promises?
- What do you need right now to fully embrace Jesus as the light of the world? Are there any ways you are “snuffing” out the light?
- From what do you need to be purified? To what do you need to rededicate yourself?
Lord, now you let your servant go in peace, your word has been fulfilled: my own eyes have seen the salvation which you have prepared in the sight of every people: a light to reveal you to the nations and the glory of your people Israel. Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen.
Liturgy of the Hours, Gospel Canticle (Lk 2:29-32).