by Rev Don Schatz
Be a St. Lucia.
You can listen to today’s devotion by clicking on this SoundCloud link.
“The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.”
John 11:5, New International Version
Today is St. Lucia Day (or St. Lucy for those who ‘Americanize’ it). Scandinavian Christians still celebrate the day. St. Lucy, whose name means “light,” was a third-century Christian martyr. One of the legends associated with Lucy’s ministry is that she would bring food and assistance to Christian brothers and sisters hiding in the catacombs. She would light her way using a candle-lit wreath. Hence, she is frequently pictured today with a candle-lit wreath on her head.
Her day is December 13, because in the Middle Ages before the revision of the calendar the Winter Solstice occurred on this date. St. Lucia, servant of the light of the world, reminded those in the far north that on the shortest day of the year, when darkness seemed to rule, the Light of Christ still burned brightly.
One custom, still observed in Scandinavia, is for a girl in a white dress, with a wreath on her head complete with burning candles, to wake the family from sleep, offering a tray with coffee and cakes. “Lucy fires” (essentially festal bonfires) are also still common on this day in parts of Scandinavia.
Jesus even calls us “the Light of the world” (Matthew 5:14). We carry Christ, who illumines our souls. Our very presence in the world can bring light to those in darkness…the bright light of God’s own love for them in the person and work of Jesus Christ, the Light of the World. His light is life for humankind, an eternal kind of life.
Be a “Lucy bonfire” today in the life of everyone you meet. Burn with intention, and give Christ’s light. You are God’s bonfire today, sent to light up lives. Burn brightly today, as God gives you strength.
Then light a candle, or build a bonfire. Invite Christian sisters and brothers. Sing carols to the Lord, the Light of the World.
Copyright Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Colorado Springs, CO