There’s a beautiful tradition celebrating the feast of St. Lucy where the oldest daughter in a family dresses up in a white dress, wears or carries a candle, and brings sweet treats to her family (or even her neighborhood) early in the morning.
The tradition originated in Sweden, where a figure bathed in light appeared and handed out food one winter to the starving Swedish people who were suffering from a famine in the Middle Ages. That figure was St. Lucy. The whole country of Sweden still celebrates the feast of St. Lucy today.
If an early morning pastry run doesn’t work for you, however, or you just want additional ideas to celebrate this feast day, here are a few ideas focused on the gift of sight.
1. Find something beautiful to gaze at nearby
St Lucy is the patroness of the blind. Tradition tells us that her eyes were gouged out by those putting her to death because she not only refused to marry a high-ranking Roman, but she was also a Christian.
In honor of St. Lucy, you might try taking a trip to a local art museum, looking out for the sunset, taking a morning walk in a park or other outdoor space, or an evening drive to see the Christmas lights in your neighborhood or town.
2. Pray a litany of gratitude for the gift of sight throughout your life
“Jesus, thank you for the gift of my sight. The psalmist says, taste and see that the Lord is good. You are so good. Thank you for the beautiful things I have seen…” Think back and list those things personal to you, from the magnificent to the mundane. For me it might include that moment on a drive in Nevada, the Going-to-the-Sun-Road this summer, the paintings that moved me at the Nelson-Atkins, seeing my parents dance with my sister at her wedding, the sight of my kids and husband joyfully wrestling in the living room, and the way the frost looks on the branches framed by the decorative window in my bedroom.
Those who are visually impaired can join in thanking God for the even more important gift of spiritual sight. How important it is to “see” the goodness in others and to recognize the Lord’s hand at work in the world and our daily lives!
As you think back gratefully on these moments, reflect on how God has revealed himself to you through your sight, both visually and/or in your soul. End your prayer praising God for this tremendous gift.
3. Take a few simple steps to better care for your eyes
If you don’t have a habit of looking away from your screen often, try starting that today. There are some foods that promote the well-being of your eyes–carrot, tomato, tuna, turkey, and spinach, to name a few. Having a turkey or tuna salad on spinach with a side of tomato soup might be just the ticket for a nice wintery meal.
4. Read the Bible
Instead of potentially straining your eyes in the evening with scrolling or television, pull out your Bible and spend fifteen minutes reflecting on the times Jesus heals those who are blind in the Gospels. Think about what that experience might have been like. Try Mark 8:22-26 for the man who sees people walking like trees at first after Jesus heals him, or John 9 with the man who had been blind from birth.
Consider making a donation to the Xavier Society for the Blind, the Saint Lucy School for Children with Visual Impairments, the Catholic Blind Institute (for those living in England), or one of the many other amazing organizations working to aid those who are visually impaired. There can be no better way to celebrate St. Lucy’s feast!
What an amazing gift vision is! St Lucy, pray for us!