Advent Meditations: Friday 13 December

Dec 13, 2019 by

Dec 13
am: 31
pm: 35
Haggai 1:1-15 Rev 2:18-29 Matt 23:27-39

Second Friday in Advent Feast of St. Lucy, Martyr of Syracuse, 304

According to the traditional story, she was born to rich and noble parents about 283. Her father died when she was young. Fifty-two years prior to Saint Lucy, Saint Agatha, virgin and martyr was executed. Saint Agatha’s fame attracted many visitors to her relics at Catania. Lucy and her mother, Eutychia, made the pilgrimage, where Eutychia was healed of a hemorrhage. Lucy persuaded Eutychia to distribute a great part of their riches among the poor. This angered the young man to whom she was betrothed. He reported her as a Christian. She was executed by with sword in the year 303. She was first condemned to suffer the shame of prostitution but in the strength of God she stood unmovable and could not be dragged away to the place of shame. God also saved her from being set on fire. According to some stories, Saint Lucy’s eyes were plucked out during her torture and God miraculously restored her sight. Her feast day is celebrated especially in Sweden, where elements of light and sight, as well as the martyr’s crown, are combined in a beautiful family custom appropriate for Advent celebration.

Meditation – On yet another day in Advent when a Martyr of the Church is remembered and not only remembered but incardinated into the culture as in Sweden, one can just dismiss the martyr’s witness of the ancient church as by gone days.  But, the second lesson today from the Revelation of John reminds us not to get too smug about our own faith. This lesson talks about the church at Laodicea where one can conclude that they became smug, wrapped up in their own self-importance that they thought that they had all that they needed. They were more concerned about making things ready for their own self then for making themselves ready for Christ. It is an important image for us as Christmas nears to ensure that we are not being too focused on self. When members of the community of faith become self-contained and insular, we lose our spiritual vitality and integrity and very quickly we turn our eyes inward rather than upward. The words to Laodicea are also words to us, especially when we gather at the Lord’s Table: The one to whose table we are invited is the Lord’s Table, not ours. It is his Advent, not ours. It is His feast on 25 December, not ours. Perhaps the words of St. John the Divine are meant for us this Advent as we prepare for Christmas Dinners and parties…. “Listen! I am standing at the door knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come into you and eat with you, and you with me.” Amen.

PRAYER: O Gracious Lord, whose servant Blessed Lucy demonstrated the light of faith without counting the cost. Bestow upon us we pray light of faith,  increase and preserve this light in our souls so that we may avoid evil, be zealous in the in the faith, commit to acts of charity and abhor nothing so much as the blindness and the darkness of evil and of sin. Amen

Discipline/Activity – This day in Advent is especially significant in Scandinavia and Italy where the day has traditionally been celebrated with bonfires, processions, and other illuminations. In Sicily St. Lucy, dressed in a blue cloak showered with stars, brings gifts to children on the eve of her feast day. Children leave their shoes outside on St. Lucy’s Eve in.

ANCIENT WISDOM/PRESENT GRACE  “It is a horrible blindness, indeed, when a mortal man is not ashamed to oppose himself to God. — John Calvin

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