St. Lucia Day
8 Don’t be in debt to anyone, except for the obligation to love each other. Whoever loves another person has fulfilled the Law. 9 The commandments, Don’t commit adultery, don’t murder, don’t steal, don’t desire what others have,[a] and any other commandments, are all summed up in one word: You must love your neighbor as yourself.[b] 10 Love doesn’t do anything wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is what fulfills the Law. 11 As you do all this, you know what time it is. The hour has already come for you to wake up from your sleep. Now our salvation is nearer than when we first had faith. 12 The night is almost over, and the day is near. So let’s get rid of the actions that belong to the darkness and put on the weapons of light. 13 Let’s behave appropriately as people who live in the day, not in partying and getting drunk, not in sleeping around and obscene behavior, not in fighting and obsession. 14 Instead, dress yourself with the Lord Jesus Christ, and don’t plan to indulge your selfish desires.
St. Lucia was a courageous and generous young woman; who, instead of marrying a pagan, dedicated herself to God and gave her dowry to the poor. This action led to her being denounced as a Christian and martyred. As part of her sentence, the lady whose name means light had her eyes gouged out. Since that time, her story has brought light and sight to many. Her feast day, December 13, is especially celebrated in Scandinavian countries where it replaced the older holidays of yule and Lussi night. Lussi was a witch who let out evil into the world until the winter solstice (yule). The story of St. Lucia helped to bring light into this darkness and replace these superstitions. This young girl blinded because of hatred has guided generations toward the path. Today, celebrations have combined the works of St. Lucia and Christmas to show how she has brought the light of Christ. Most celebrations feature a young girl wearing a white dress with a red sash, to represent the martyrdom of the saint, and a crown of candles, to show the light of God. She is followed by a procession of women with candles, to represent the fire that could not burn the saint, all singing a song remembering Lucia’s life. The girl then serves special sweet bread known as St. Lucia’s buns, to remind those gathered around of her generosity. On the Island bearing her name a national holiday is celebrated with festivals featuring lantern making competitions, and other unique festivities.
Just like with St. Nicholas, St. Lucia came to be associated with the celebration of Christmas, because of her generosity and the tradition of her bringing light. In some traditions she now works with the Christ Child to deliver presents to children. Lucia represents an overlooked aspect of Christmas, those who brought the light of Christ to us to scatter the evil surrounding us.
Gentle Lord, help me to remember those who have brought your light into my life; help me to emulate them as they emulated you now and always. Amen.