12 December 2011

St. Lucia (December 13)

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 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.
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.

Feast of Santa Lucia. Carl Larsson 1908

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. In artistic expression she is often portrayed in a white baptismal gown, wearing a wreath of candles on her head.
The most famous tradition of St. Lucia's Day is to have the oldest daughter wear a white robe with a red sash (representing the blood that spilled from the martyred Lucia), and a wreath with candles.  She rises early, when it's still dark, and prepares a breakfast of lussekotter and coffee and then wakes and serves her whole family, announcing the soon arrival of the Light of the World, the Christ-child.  Like St. Lucia, our faithful pastors "bear witness about the light," wake dead-asleep sinners, and nourish them with the Bread of Life.  For,
anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.  (Eph 5:14)


  • Lots and lots of activities here, including coloring pages, songs, and crafts. 
  • CSPP has a good lussekotter (saffron bread) recipe.  I tried it last year and it's delicious!  Fortunately, when my elder two dumped 2 quarts (and probably $100) of spices and herbs into one big bowl one morning last month, they forgot the saffron. 
  • Here's how to make wheat ornaments, a traditional Swedish craft.  
  • Paper dolls.
  • Grow wheat to sprouts by Christmas.  Here are instructions from Penitents.org:
"The tradition of planting wheat on Saint Lucy's Day (December 13) comes from Hungary, Croatia, and other European nations. Plant wheat grains in a round dish or plate of soil, then water the seeds. Place the container in a warm spot. If the planting medium is kept moist (not sopping wet), the seeds will germinate and the shoots will be several inches high by Christmas. Then the new green shoots, reminding us of the new life born in Bethlehem, may be tied with a ribbon, if desired, and a candle may be placed near them as a symbol of the Light of Christ.
lace the plate of sprouted wheat near the Nativity 
set where it will remind all that Christ, the Bread of Life, was born in Bethlehem, whose name means "House of Bread." The wheat recalls the Eucharist which is made from wheat. It also brings to mind Christ's parables about wheat:
[John 12:24; Mark 4:1-20; Matthew 13: 4-23; Matthew 13:24-30; Matthew 13:33; Mark 4:26-29; Mark 2:23-28]

The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.  

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