Santa Lucia – a Celebration of Light

Standing under a clear night’s sky

winter winds brush up against me

crossing the paths of the past with the present

Engulfing all in an earthly realm.

There is a sound called silence

its dear to those who know

that a greater love gazes down on us

stifling out loneliness and sorrow.

Listening to the crunching snow

and the stillness of the sky,

I strain my ears to hear the hush of comfort

and a tale told long ago.

Italy is the birthplace of this legend,

its seeds have northward blown

to help many overcome melancholy and gloom

Its sweet melody floats through my mind.

A clouded night on a frozen lake

lures the men into the dark

They fish into the vast empty depth

hunting for a long lost hope.

Snow quietly settles on the hungry village

nestled near Lake Vänern.

Quiet is the white covered land,

only drifts of a baby’s cry is heard.

” Will there, oh will there be an end to this scourge?”

cried the men into the night.

” Is there such a thing as miracle?

Or are we just pawns in fate’s hand?”

Not a fish was caught, nor a bird in flight,

discouraged they begin to row towards home.

Dense fog blankets their view

engulfing them in a cold wet mist.

Slumped over with head in hands

their boat slowly bobs deeper into winter’s ice.

Tears fall as they close their eyes and

accept their watery destiny.

As doom comfortably settles upon the lake,

a stream of light floats toward the craft.

Startled by the midsummer rays

the pagans hid to escape the vision.

The procession draws near and its angelic streams

embrace the starving souls.

Dancing lights awaken the frightened mortals and

courage opens their eyes to a glorious scene.

A beautiful personage all dressed in white

smiles upon them with celestial light

Her warmth wraps close around them,

melting their frozen limbs.

” Be not afraid,” they heard her say

” I am sent here by a prayer.”

A golden path winded homewards,

to an abundance of food.

The people were humbled and fell to their knees

giving thanks for the heavenly deed.

Her being and beauty disappeared from sight,

but they heard her whisper, “God bless you all this night.”

From this day forth she was their torch,

guiding them through the dead of winter.

The light never dimmed in this rolling landscape.

Lucia’s memory and legend fed the land.

December 13 th once the darkest day of the year

is celebrated with ceremony.

In Swedish churches, schools and businesses

all in attendance can bear witness of Lucia’s spirit.

A wreath of candles set alight

adorns the eldest maiden.

Draped in a plain white gown

she rouses the peaceful lumberers with joyous song.

” Santa Lucia thy light is glowing

through darkest winter night

comfort bestowing.

Dreams float on wings so bright

light then your candles white

Santa Lucia, Santa Lucia.”

The young 4th-century Sicilian girl

whose martyrdom brought her sainthood

still holds sacred her calling

and comforts the poor and down-trodden.

Her memory is still strong

on cold December nights.

May her light find you

as she did so long ago the people of Lake Vänern

whose hearts she did set aglow.

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