Pastor Michelle's Monthly Message

Michelle Torigian is Senior Pastor of the Church

Pastor’s Message 

Celebrating Candlemas

Recently, I was in St. Augustine for my cousin’s wedding. In January, the town is filled with lights - three million of them, so they say.
As we walked around town, we could see not only lights still hanging all over the establishments and outside of buildings, but Christmas decorations as well. The bed and breakfast we stayed in had their Christmas trees still up and poinsettias decorating the porch. Christmas trees were all around town as well. All these lights in the depth of winter brought me much joy.


When I got back home, I saw something familiar around Belleville - Christmas trees still up in various places. In fact, nearing the end of January, I saw trees hanging from the ceiling at Pour 322 as well as through the windows at Down the Hall Homebrew and Copperfire.

I am going to confess something here: our tree is still up at home. Being that Armenian Christmas is on Epiphany (January 6), I emphasize to Aaron the importance of keeping up Christmas decorations until then. Because life begins to get busy again post Epiphany, the tree takes a little while to fully disassemble after that date.

That being said, I found out that it’s totally legitimate to have one’s Christmas tree up until Candlemas, which is on February 2! Candlemas is sometimes considered the very end of Christmas and Epiphany seasons, and the day recognizes the presentation of Jesus in the Temple as well as Mary’s purification. Great, I think to myself.


Some traditions take their candles to church to have them blessed. There’s also a neat tradition in Germany that if the sun is shining on Candlemas, then the hedgehog will see its shadow, and we’ll have a second winter. Obviously, our modern-day American Groundhog Day was adapted from this practice.

This is all to say that there is a piece of our souls celebrating any extra light we have this time of year. The one week we had when the sun didn’t shine in January weighted on my soul. When the sun appeared the next week, I had to take a few moments to step outside and give thanks to God for the extra light.

Since days are still so short, we will put the Christmas tree lights on - even in late January. I believe all of these extra lights are a gift from God to hold us through the winter months. Honestly, there are no rules for what works for all of you regarding Christmas decorations and lights around your house. As for Candlemas, I’m blessing your candles from afar. May they bring you joy, warmth, and peace. And may your Candlemas be merry and bright - except for the part with the Groundhog; may he not see his shadow so we can have a mild February and March.



Pastor Michelle