I have a love/hate relationship with the early morning sun. I know that sounds kind of silly, but it’s true. Here in the Northeast, the days continue to shorten, and until the winter solstice on December 21, the sun will rise later and later. This morning it rose at 7:04am, and it will set at 4:12pm giving us 9 hours, 8 minutes, and 5 seconds of daylight. Compare that to the long days of summer, particularly June 21, when the sun rises at 5:08am and sets at 8:25pm giving us 15 hours, 16 minutes, and 49 seconds of daylight. The contrast is pretty dramatic, although not quite as dramatic as other parts of the word, but nonetheless, I feel it.
So here’s the rub.
When I arise on weekdays, the dark morning greets me and encourages me to stay in my warm bed. “Just a few more minutes…” I silently plead. After relenting to the alarm clock and the call of the day, I sit quietly in the living room with a cup of coffee in one hand and my rosaries in the other having put on a distant light down the hall so I can embrace the fact that I’m vertical. It’s a slow process, as anyone who knows me can attest.
But over the weekend, I got a chance to sleep in – the first time in a very long time. The late sunrise was my friend! When my internal alarm clock went off, my surroundings enabled me to close my eyes and roll over in the warmth of my bed and the darkness of my room.
That got me thinking…
Today we celebrate the feast of St. Lucy, virgin and marytr. Raised in a Christian Greek family, she committed her life to Jesus as a girl. When her father died while Lucy was still young, her mother arranged for her to be married. Well, Lucy wanted no part of it and resisted her mother for 3 years. Through St. Agatha’s intercession, her mother relented. Unfortunately, her betrothed wasn’t too happy about it, and he turned her into the governor of Sicily as a Christian, illegal at that time.
The governor sentenced her to prostitution, but when the guards came to get her, they were unable to move her. They tried moving her by hitching her to a train of oxen – no go! So the gov gave up and told the guards to kill her. After torturing her, she was stabbed to death around the year 283. As part of her torture, the guards gouged out her eyes. Legend says her eyesight was restored before her death. Thus she is the patron saint of those with eye problems. Her name actually means “bringer of light”.
In this season of Advent, we too are called to be bringers of light. Regardless of whether or not we want to roll over and stay in the dark and warmth of our comfortable place, we are called to bring the light of Christ to the world.
Stop and think for a moment about how many times since the start of Advent you’ve heard something relating Christ and light. He is the light of the world…The people who live in darkness has seen a great Light…. “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.” (Jn 1:4-5) It’s in the music we sing at Mass. How many of you have recently sung “Christ Be Our Light”?
St. Lucy brought the light of Christ into the world by her commitment to him. She stood firm in her faith before the pleadings of her mother, against the wishes of her betrothed, and even in the face of death.
We have to ask ourselves, “How do I bring the light of Christ into the world?” I would like to throw out a handful of ideas – of simple ways that you can spread the light of Christ during the Advent season – a season when so many are harried and crabby.
- Smile at a stranger: Look them directly in the eye and smile. You may be the only one who does that day!
- Greet someone you don’t know: a good morning at the coffee shop, a good afternoon on the sidewalk, a simple hello
- Let someone go ahead of you in line: at the grocery store, or even more generous – at the post office
- Give someone the right of way in traffic: People are so agressive on the road these days. Let someone go – of course with a wave and a smile
- Hold the door for someone: coming or going doesn’t matter, just let them know you notice them
- Hold your tongue when you want to grouse: in the home or out of the home, this can be quite a bit mortification!
- Invite a friend you haven’t see in a while to dinner.
Whatever it may be, look for ways to bring the light and love of Christ into the world in the ordinary, everyday parts of your life. Those simple acts of love will make Christ present in a very real way to the “people walking in darkness”. Through you, they will see a great light!
St. Lucy, pray for us! Anne
I kindly ask your prayers to St. Lucy for my mom who will undergo eye surgery today. You can read a St. Lucy’s intercession story here.