My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends—
It gives a lovely light! -Edna St. Vincent Millay
On this day throughout Scandinavia, little girls will put on long white robes and place candles carefully upon their heads and walk room to room bringing breakfast goodies to waiting parents, becoming “Santa Lucia” or “St. Lucy” for the morning.
St. Lucy is actually of Italian heritage, a martyr who died during the persecutions of Diocletian, but she has been most readily embraced by those who live farther north. She is “the light bringer” in the long, endless night of the frigid north, and the candles of her crown stand as a reminder to Christians that God’s light never goes out. Indeed, even as Lucy’s very life faded, it is said that she continued to profess her faith in Christ.
If your family is not in the habit of honoring this day, it may be a fun activity to try! Baking sweet cookies with raisins, feasting on coffee, and listening to a recording of Santa Lucia (Pr. Tim prefers the version by Perry Como) are all in order, as is praying this evening prayer below.
1. How can you remind yourself that God’s light never fade?
2. When you’re beginning to lose hope, who do you turn to for support? Thank that person today for being a light in your life.
Let us pray. God who continues to shine in the shadows of life, today we give you thanks for the life and witness of St. Lucy. As she reminds us today that your light ever shines, and that good things are still to be had even in the long nights of waiting, warm our hearts with your love. Amen.
All italicized quotes, poems, and prayers come from An Advent Sourcebook (Liturgy Training Publications/Chicago, IL, 1986).