A small bit of light changes things.
A small bit of light can be hope.
And perhaps a small bit of light can simply be a reminder to a dark room to turn on the light.
Saint Lucy—Santa Lucia—is a wonderful confluence of histories. She’s Italian by heritage, yet so embraced by Scandinavia that they use her as their own saint. She is the “light bearer” to a Scandinavian winter held by darkness.
The historical Lucy was a martyr; a daughter of tragedy.
But today she is remembered for her life and vibrant nature. Little girls will adorn their heads with a crown of light, walking from room to room, bringing sweet things. Young boys will attend to her with stars on sticks, “star boys” as they’re often called, following her on this quest to bring light to dark places in the world.
But candles also have other symbolism. Often times we talk about candles when we’re burning our light so strongly we’re not sure how it will sustain. We’re “at the end of our wick.”
Poet Edna St. Vincent Millay said it this way,
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!
I love that poem. It gives me permission to push in this time of Advent “housewarming,” pushing in a way that I want to given the time of year. These days do provide opportunity for giving off lovely light!
But it is also a challenge. How might I retain my life, my light, in the midst of this?
Or, better put, when the darkness sets in because I have pushed too hard, how might I be able to see the light that is still present, the light that Lucy is said to reflect, the Christ-light in all of us?
Questions for reflection: How do you retain your inner light in these busy days?