Tuesday, December 13, 2011

St. Lucy's Day: In the Middle of Advent, Looking for the Light

Today is special in our house this year because we have our own "Lucy," the dachshund who joined our household back in February.  But Lucy has always been a favorite saint of mine. I've never known exactly why. It has been sort of an intuitive thing, but it may be clearer this year.

Lucy's name means "light," and it is no accident her feast day is on December 13. In the old Gregorian Calendar, this was the shortest day of the year.  After today, even though we have a lot of winter yet to come, the light begins to take back the night.  So, especially in northern Europe, this was a very important day, a day of hope.

In Scandinavia today, children will bring their parents breakfast in bed, some of them (carefully!) wearing a wreath of lighted candles (I suppose most of them are electric by now).  Last night they will have written "Lussi" on their doors and hung a picture of the saint. In ancient times, this was to announce to the demons of winter and the night that their brief reign was over.  "Lucy fires" are lit this evening as another sign that the light is triumphing over the darkness.

Lucy is my companion, I guess, whenever I am looking for the light.  Here, in the Middle of Advent, feeling oh so far behind, not sure when I'm going to have time to Christmas shop, feeling more unprepared for the liturgical celebrations ahead than I have for a long time, I have need of Lucy's light to help me see the One who is coming, whether I am ready or not, and he is coming with Good News.

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