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Archive for December 13th, 2016

According to tradition, St. Lucia’s were gouged out and so she is depicted holding them. Her eyes saw the fair beauty of the Lord for herself and others.

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 scientist and years ago pointed out that physically you can not bring darkness into a room but you can bring in light into the darkness. 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.

Dr. Joel Elowsky, Professor at Concordia Seminary/St. Louis, in an interview on Issues, Etc. (you can find that interview here) pointed out some other aspects of Lucia’s life according to the tradition.  She was betrothed to be married but used her dowry money to help the poor and she remained a virgin.  Virginity of women was a virtue to be emulated in the first centuries of the Church.  And the virgin saint in Christ would help the poor in the evening wearing a crown of lights on her head.  Thus, the Scandinavian custom of the daughter dressed in white with a crown of lit candles on her head is a good visualization of sons of Adam and the daughters of Eve baptized into Christ:  wearing the robe of righteousness and crowned with Christ’s light.  I would think the contrast between a pure virgin and sex obsessed Roman culture was palpable.  It is today as well.  Have you ever heard a sermon on the virtues of chastity and virginity? Maybe a saint as Lucia is an antidote to the socially sanctioned rampant filth of our times as it was in the Roman Empire.

 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, His light,  into the dark places, even in our bodies which are temples of the Holy Spirit.  In these dark days, we need the light to see and the light to warm us and others in His forgiveness for this dark silent planet. “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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