December 13, 2007

St Lucia Day

Because of our Swedish heritage, we've celebrated St Lucia day for years. I have a Lucia doll that's 30 years old. Tradition has the oldest daughter wear a candle wreath on her head and serve breakfast treats in bed.

Lucia, or Lucy, means "light." Lucia was born in the third century in Sicily of Greek parentage. She was brought up Christian by her mother in times of great persecution. Lucia had been betrothed to a pagan. With her mother's permission she gave her dowry away to persons in need. Her betrothed was furious and denounced her as a Christian. She was martyred in 304, still clinging to her faith in Christ. Lucia held the Light of Christ for all to see in the cultural darkness.


The Scandinavians really celebrate her day. At this time of year the sun barely makes it over the horizon, so they hold great festivals of lights. It is believed her story reached them through missionary Vikings, and was strengthened by a legend:


In the Middle Ages there was a famine in Sweden, "Varmland." Just when the starving people were giving up hope, a huge ship appeared. The boat contained food, and clothes. They saw a maiden in white with a glowing crown and long golden hair at the ship's helm. Once the cargo was unloaded the ship vanished. They believe the maiden to be Santa Lucia.


I used to always make something ahead, like lucia buns or muffins, and had the coffee pot ready to push the on-button. We also talked of possibilities the kids could do for themselves like hot cocoa. Then Heather (and Travis) could "surprise" us in the morning.

After reading Matt 5:14-16, sing "This Little Light of Mine." You could read Matt 10:26-33 to connect with Lucia standing in her faith even to the point of death. It killed her body but not her soul. I also think of Jesus' parable of the 10 bridesmaids who took their lamps to meet the bridegroom. Five were prepared, awake and aware to see the bridegroom.


If we're turned in on ourselves, we cannot reflect the light of God's likeness. But if we're awake and aware in Jesus, we can see God in our midst in our daily lives and reflect His image to those we come in contact with.
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