Such a lovely room

Such a lovely room

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Third Sunday of Advent


Today, December 13th, is St. Lucy Day (aka Santa Lucia Day) which—like St. Nicholas Day—tends to be observed more in Europe than in the United States.  For those unfamiliar with the traditional story, Lucy was born about the year 283AD, and lost both her eyes, rather than forsake her faith.  (I’m sanitizing this a bit.)  The name Lucy means “light,” and her feast day is connected to the return of light, since before the calendar reform of 1582, her feast day fell on the darkest night of the year (which is now Dec. 21/22, depending on the year).

You can see why St. Lucy is such a big deal in Scandinavian countries, where the darkness of winter is oppressive indeed!  In that region, the day is celebrated with one young girl donning lighted candles and leading a procession to mark the return of light.  (I know of at least two parishes in New York City who continue this pageant every December, while singing the familiar song, “Santa Lucia.”)

Though we are not used to wearing candles on our heads, we do have a very specific connection between candles and bringing light.  At baptisms, it is tradition to light a smaller candle from the Paschal candle, and the priest says, “Let your light so shine before others, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”  (Matthew 5:16)

This is a good reminder to all of us that we are the light of Christ in the world.  When we do good works, such as feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the lonely, we are shining the light of Christ.  We don’t do these things to receive praise, but rather so that others may glorify the One who inspires us to do such things in the name of God.

I encourage you this week to reflect on how you shine God’s light in the world.  You are doing it every single day, whether you know it or not.  May others see that light, and glorify God because of all that you do.

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