Thought for the Month – Feb 2019

February, a month that originally did not exist; a reminder of humility, faith and total belief in God; and a time of unconditional support and a new beginning.
February is the second month of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (and its predecessor the Julian Calendar), with 28 days in a common year, and 29 days in a leap year. The name February comes from the Latin word FEBRUUM, which means purification. The old Roman calendar considered the winter season a month less period, and their year consisted of only 10 months (thus September being the seventh, October the eighth, November the ninth and December the tenth). The month of February was added, along with January, around 713 BC by Numa Pompilius, the second King of Rome (who succeeded Romulus). February remained the last month of the Roman calendar year until approximately 450 BC when it became the second month of the year (with January becoming the first).
On the 2nd Of February this year we celebrate Candlemas. This commemorates the Virgin Mary, in obedience to Jewish Law, going with Joseph to the Temple in Jerusalem to be purified 40 days after the birth of her son, Jesus, and to present him to God as her first born. This festival was formerly known in the Roman Catholic Church as the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and is now known as the Presentation of the Lord. In the Anglican Church it is called the Presentation of Christ in the Temple.
While they were there a man called Simeon, who was righteous and devout, was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying “Lord, as you have promised, you can now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation”. There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old and never left the temple but worshipped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.
February 1998 was the first time both Carol and I had visited Blackrod. Prior to that we had never heard of Blackrod, or knew of its existence. In the previous November, the Company I had worked for went through yet another international merger, and the UK Head Office in Harrow was to close and move to Horwich. After working for them for almost thirty years I was unsure of my future, but Carol fully embraced the opportunity for change. She joined me with enthusiastic support when at the beginning of February 1998 we were invited to come “up north” and look at the area around Horwich for relocation purposes. Blackrod was one of the many places we looked at, and eventually moved to in June 1998. We have absolutely no regrets, and consider Blackrod our home.
There we have it then, my thoughts for February; a month that did not originally exist; Candlemas which shows the humbleness of Mary to take her son Jesus (the Son of God) to the Temple to comply with Jewish Law, and the faith and belief of both Simeon and Anna in recognising who he was; and a time of unconditional support and a new beginning when, for reasons beyond our control, Blackrod was where Carol and I were meant to be. Brian McCabe