Sunday, December 13, 2015
Zephaniah, Chapter 3, Verse 15
The LORD has removed the judgment against you, he has turned away your enemies; The King of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst, you have no further misfortune to fear.
Today is the feast of St. Lucy. Lucy is an excellent example of a person whose heart is filled with faith. She is one of the church’s incorruptibles. That is her body is still intact long after death. She had a great heart of great courage.
Father Kenelm Digby Best knew her example of fearlessness when he penned in his book “A Priest’s Poems” on St. Lucy:
Flames might not harm her: Saint Lucy stood fearless, Still as a statue's the neck which they smote: Scarcely another save, Lucy, was tearless. When the sharp dagger was plunged in her throat.
The customs surrounding the Feast of St. Lucy also illuminate the themes of Advent and Christmas. Lucy, whose name means light and whose association with light has made her the patron saint of the "light of the body" (the eyes), once had her feast fall on the shortest day of the year. (Before the Gregorian calendar was reformed in the Middle Ages, December 13 was the day of the winter solstice.) For all of these reasons, St. Lucy is honored with a number of customs involving fire. Lucy candles were once lit in the home and Lucy fires burned outside. In Sweden and Norway a girl dressed in white and wearing an evergreen wreath on her head with lit candles would awaken the family and offer them coffee and cakes. She was called the Lussibrud (Lucy bride) and her pastry the Lussekattor.
The Feast of St. Lucy comes at a propitious time during the observance of Advent. Reminding us of the importance of light, the light of St. Lucy foreshadows the coming of the Light of the World at Christmas like a spark foreshadows the sun.
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