When Mary placed the baby Jesus in the arms of Simeon, it was the meeting of the Old and New Covenants. The old sacrifices, the burnt offerings were done away, and a new and perfect offering had come into the temple. God had provided himself a Lamb. The offering was to be made once for all on the cross.
According to the Gospel narrative today’s feast is sometimes known as the Purification of Mary. In the Eastern Church it has been called the Meeting of Christ with Simeon. It is also known as Candlemas, because it was observed with a procession of lighted candles. Such a variety of names points to the wealth of spiritual meaning that generations of Christians have discovered in this “small” incident.