We are now 40 days after the day of celebrating the birth of Jesus.
What is celebrated today in the Feast of the Presentation (Candlemas) is based on the story told by Luke in chapter 2 of his gospel, verses 22 - 40.
Luke 2: 22 - 40 tells how Mary and Joseph, in accordance with custom and religious law, took their baby Jesus to be presented in the temple. There they encounter 2 prophets, who had each been waiting, praying and longing for the coming of a Saviour.
These 2 people were Simeon (who was probably an old man) and Anna (who was certainly an old woman). Both of them recognised in the infant Jesus the one for whom they were waiting and they rejoiced.
Simeon's song of rejoicing, known as the 'Nunc Dimittis' is said or sung daily at Evening Prayer in many places throughout the world. It is a prayer to be allowed to depart in peace having seen God's salvation and the light to lighten all peoples.
Here is a musical setting with accompanying images:
Image Credit: detail from painting by Rembrandt, on Flickr, CC License