Fun Fact: I'm fascinated by the way ancient history continues to weave its way into our "modern" celebrations. And the story of Saint Lucia (aka St. Lucy) is a great example of this. So, are you ready for another story? I am and I can't wait to share this one with you.
Have you heard of St. Lucia the Light Bringer?
Also known as St. Lucy, this young saint is celebrated on December 13 throughout portions of the Nordic countries.
Once upon a time, before our current Julian calendar, the world kept "time" according to the Gregorian calendar. This meant that December 13 was the original date of the Winter Solstice.
Born in 4th century Italy, Lucia was a devout Christian. It's believed that she carried food and water to other Christians who were forced to hide in the catacombs under Rome for safety.
To light her way while she carried her supplies, she devised a wreath of candles that she could wear on her head.
At an early age, Lucy was betrothed by her parents to a much older man, who was cruel and who despised her for her commitment to her Christian beliefs.
For three years she avoided her wedding to this violent man, praying nightly to her patron, St. Agatha, for her help and intercession.
But at last the man's patience wore out and, on the very night of the Winter Solstice, he sent 12 armed guards to find and capture Lucy, initiating the start of three miracles.
First, the guards tortured the girl by gouging out her eyes, but Lucy's eyes kept growing back. When they tried to force her into a larger torture chamber, they were unable to move the slight girl (miracle number 1).
Next, the guards tried to light Lucy on fire, but the flames wouldn't catch (miracle number 2).
Finally, one guard attempted to pierce her heart with his spear, and as he did so, Lucy ascended into heaven (miracle number 3). As she rose up, the most brilliant light appeared, permanently blinding all 12 of the guards.
St. Lucy's Day, once celebrated only in Scandinavian countries, is becoming more popular worldwide as we look forward to the end of the long, dark days of winter.
This day has become a time to celebrate the return to the light -- both Lucy's ascension into heaven amidst the brilliant light as well as the return of the sun on the Winter Solstice.
I'm ready for that return. Are you?
I know that there's a reason for winter, but just bring on the light, please.