St. Lucy was a consecrated virgin & martyr who was killed in the early church during the worst persecution. Her name means “light” which is appropriate for a woman who was known for the visible glow she had out of her love for her spouse, Christ. She would bring supplies and food to the poor and Christians in the darkness of the catacombs but would wear a wreath of candles so that she could see better. There are so many fun traditions associated with her feast day, many of them involving light, candles, torches, and even bonfires.
Today the eldest daughter is supposed to wake the household with St. Lucia buns, coffee, and treats while wearing a wreath of candles, a white gown, and a red sash symbolizing her baptism and martyrdom. She can also be accompanied by small brothers known as “Star Boys” who wear white gowns and cone shaped hats decorated with stars and carrying a star tipped wand.
These are the traditional St. Lucy Buns, also known as Saffron buns, that I make every year!
What We Do
In my family, we wait to put up the Christmas tree and lights until this weekend. It's a meaningful way to integrate light on the feast day of Lucy whose name means light, but is also a way to express joy on Gaudete Sunday. Our home is filled with Advent and Christmas decor, but it’s been missing the romantic twinkle of lights. Without the lights I have been reminded of the meaning of Advent, the cold dark winter preparation for the coming of Christ. These physical reminders can be so important to our Catholic life, without them we can easily fall into the busyness of December schedules, parties, work, baking, shopping, and the typical hustle and bustle.
A Reflection on the Meaning of Light
I’ve been thinking more about the lesson of light that we can take away from St. Lucy’s feast day in honor of her own faith. Hearing about her glow reminds me of when I was engaged or what others tell women when they are pregnant, "you’re glowing"! My engagement period was filled with so much anticipation and joy, it very much felt like the season of Advent. I couldn’t hide the love and happiness that I felt even if I wanted to, and then I imagine St. Lucy and the love she had for Jesus. This young girl glowed out of love for Christ whom she consecrated herself to. We see very clearly the physical reminder of her name with the candle lit wreath that she wore when serving others who were hiding in darkness; but she was also a spiritual light to the message of the Gospel. She could see what others could not through her faith, which reminded me of this reference from the ever popular Chronicles of Narnia. In C.S. Lewis’ book Prince Caspian, Lucy has this exchange of faith with Aslan. Her siblings can no longer see him, even in daylight, but she can and she realizes something else, that he is bigger!
“Aslan,” said Lucy, “you’re bigger.”
“That is because you are older, little one,” answered he.
“Not because you are?”
“I am not. But every year you grow, you will find me bigger.”
We can use St. Lucy and Lucy Pevensie as a way to understand that in the light of faith and truth, Christ will grow to be “bigger”. This innocent exchange is so telling of the fact that as we grow older, get busy, or let other things take priority in life, it's very easy to lose sight of how God plays a part in all that we do. On the feast of St. Lucy and the upcoming joy of Gaudete Sunday, let’s refocus on eyes and our heart on Christ, who will shine on all of our circumstances.
Praying for you this Advent as we all seek to prepare a place in our hearts and homes for the coming of Christ.
And may St. Lucy intercede for us as we draw nearer to the light of Christ.