The Feast of the Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple celebrates not an event recorded in Scripture, but rather calls us to contemplate the very process by which God brings us to salvation. Metropolitan St. Philaret of Moscow said on the Feast Day, “In man in a sinless state, ‘the image of God’ was the source of blessing; in fallen man, it was (only) the hope of blessing.”
The Feast of the Entrance recognizes the hope of blessing – the beginning of salvation. For humanity no longer lilved in the original sinless state, and the image of God in man had become distant from what humanity experienced in the world. The process by which God brings humanity to salvation is beginning with the Virgin standing in the temple giving hope that “God with us” of which the temple was but a sign, might now actually be fulfilled. We come to understand what purpose the Temple served in the process of salvation – for it was meant to be a type of the reality, but not the reality itself. It was to prepare God’s people for how God would be with His people – how Immanuel (Matthew 1:23) is the Word made flesh who dwelt among us. When the Virgin Mary came into the Temple, the Temple now encountered the one who would be Theotokos (the God bearer), the one who would realize that of which the Temple was but a type. The Temple was not unimportant; it was an essential preparation for what God was going to do to save His people. But in the encounter with the Theotokos the Temple became part of the OLD Covenant, that which fulfilled its purpose and was passing away as the New was being revealed.