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Archive for December 13th, 2013

The Hallelujah Chorus by Yupiq Eskimo Village of Quinhagak, Alaska–Commemoration of Santa Lucia, December 13th, 2011

Collect of the Day:

O Almighty God, by whose grace and power Your holy servant Lucia triumphed over suffering and remain ever faithful unto death, grant us, who now remember her with thanksgiving, to be so true in our witness to You in this world that we may receive with her new eyes without tears and the crown of light and life; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

One of the victims of the great persecution under the Roman emperor Diocletian, Lucia met her death at Syracuse on the island of Sicily in the year A.D. 304, because of her Christian faith. Known for her charity, “Santa Lucia” (as she is called in Italy) gave away her dowry and remained a virgin until her execution by the sword. The name Lucia means “light,” and, because of that, festivals of light commemorating her became popular throughout Europe, especially in the Scandinavian countries. There her feast day corresponds with the time of year when there is the least amount of daylight.

(Collect and Intro from The Treasury of Daily Prayer, Concordia Publishing House)

In medieval Europe before the Gregorian reform of the calendar, St. Lucy’s Day was the shortest day of the year and this day was celebrated especially in Scandinavia where it marked the tunring from the long cold nights to the increase in daylight.  Swedish communites, including many in America, still have special festivities for this day.  In private homes one of the young girls of the household, dressed in white and wearing a crown of lighted candles, awakens the family in the morning and offers them cakes and coffee from a tray. (from Festivals and Commemorations by Rev. Philip Pfatteicher)

Reflection:  It is significant that the Christ was born when light is the least, when darkness is palpable.  My wife is a chemist, a scientist and years ago she pointed out that physically you can not bring darkness into a room but you can bring in light. Only the fallen sons of Adam and daughters of Eve can bring spiritual darkness into a room, a family, a school, yes, even a church.  Lucia brought light, her own lit by Jesus Christ (Matthew 5:16).  The powers of darkness thought they had blown out that light, but they were wrong as we remember her today. In Him, we too can bring light into the dark places.  “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (St. John 1: 4-5)

We pray:

Lord Jesus Christ,  we implore You to hear our prayers and to lighten the darkness of our hearts by Your gracious visitation; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

 

 

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“…it was when Christ himself preached and with his miracles literally and loudly demonstrated that the blind see, the deaf hear, the lame are healed, the lepers cleansed, the dead raised—nothing helped. His Word was despised and he, the dear Lord Jesus, was nailed to the cross; and the apostles were banished and found security nowhere because of the preaching of the gospel. What do we have to complain about? What surprise is it that the world today despises the gospel and tramples righteous preachers? It was no different for Christ and the apostles, who not only preached the Word but performed great miracles the like of which we cannot do—we only preach the simple, vexatious Word.” (Pr. Martin Luther, House Sermons, First Sermon, 1532)

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