Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Simple St. Lucy's Day

I like to present my children with the lives of saints, men and women who have sought to honor and glorify God by being faithful and obedient even. I look for opportunities to share with them stories of the Saints, missionaries or others, such as Corrie Ten Boom, who persevered in their faith regardless of their circumstances. Although I am not Catholic, I find that the Saints Feast Days provide a natural opportunity for me to do just that; there are predetermined days for recognizing them and many have traditions that are simultaneously easy to incorporate into our lives while being memorable.
For years we have recognized Saint Nicholas' Day and this year we opted to recognize Saint Lucy's Feast Day, as well. Our recognition of the day was largely a history lesson sweetened with cinnamon rolls. Unable to make the traditional braided bread, I had hoped to braid these purchased cinnamon rolls. I was unsuccessful but the boys really didn't mind. They munched on these sweet treats while we read about Saint Lucy.

Legend has it that, in the fourth century, Lucy, a Christian, was betrothed to a pagan. She refused to marry him and gave her dowry away to the poor. The rejected bridegroom then denounced her as a Christian to the Roman government. Lucy was initially ordered to burn a sacrifice to the emperor. She refused. She was then to be sold into slavery and taken to a brothel. "The Christian tradition states that when the guards came to take her away they found her so filled with the Holy Spirit that she was as stiff and as heavy as a mountain; they could not move her even when they hitched her to a team of oxen. Even after implanting a dagger through her throat she prophesied against her persecutor." (Wikipedia) Some narratives include the story of Lucy being tortured by eye-gouging.

One of the things that we found most interesting as we were learning about St. Lucy was the time period in which she lived. The last history lesson we read prior to taking our holiday break had to do with Diocletian, a Roman emperor in the early fourth century. Diocletian was determined to obliterate Christianity. His wave of persecution was the last of ten that existed from the time of Nero until about 311. Diocletian gave himself the title of Dominus Noster (Latin for "Our Lord") and demanded to be worshiped as Jupiter. Many Christians were tortured and put to death because of their refusal to worship Diocletian. As revenge on the Christians who wouldn't bow down to Diocletian, he attempted to destroy all copies of the scriptures. He also forbade Christians to meet and assemble and had churches destroyed. "It is recorded that in Phyrgia, an entire Christian village and its inhabitants were burned. Not one man, woman, or child spoke against Christ to save their life, but each painfully endured the fire. And supposedly, under Diocletian, there were so many Christians thrown to the wild animals in the sporting arenas that the animals became full and quit eating! It was a horrific time to be a Christian in Rome." (The Mystery of History Vol.II)
It was during this time, under Diocletian's rule and oppressive edicts, that St. Nicholas was imprisoned and St. Lucy was martyred.

Although there are many around the world who are being martyred for their faith in Jesus Christ and, it can be argued, Christianity may be under attack in our own nation, our family risks very little in professing our faith yet the Bible does tell us that we will face persecution and trials related to our faith. Even though these trials may be more subtle than facing the jaws of a lion or being engulfed by flames I pray that our family would stand firm in our faith.

1 comment:

  1. Saint Lucy was a goddess! She really stood strong in her shoes. I have never heard about her. I am loving learning about faith from you, Tammie. You are such a talented communicator. I am going to call your blog "Tammie's School of Life, Love and Faith". Not really....you have the best name ever...The Grand Adventure. It doesn't get any better than that!