St Andrew Lutheran Church weekly devotion 
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St Andrew Lutheran Church
4420 Center Point Rd NE
Cedar Rapids, IA 52402
(319) 393-4021
December 13, 2015
"The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness--on them light has shined."     Isaiah 9:2
      The dark days of winter are upon us, and we aren't far from the shortest day of the lunar year.   Then slowly, subtly, a few minutes each day, the light stays with us a little longer, and one day we look around, and realize that it's almost dinnertime and the sun is still shining!
The universal theme of wearying of the long, dark nights and short days is central in a very old Swedish legend.  In an unusual twist, the whole story of St. Lucia begins in Sicily -- a significant distance from Sweden!  The story is told of Lucia, a young woman who lived in 304 A.D. and was so dedicated to her Christian faith and caring for the poor that she chose to give her entire dowry to the needy.  The man she was supposed to marry was furious, and tried to have her burned at the stake, but (apparently miraculously) the fire would not light.  Eventually, she was martyred for her faith, and later declared a saint.

      One version of the legend tells of a great hunger in Syracuse, Sicily, and the people gathered to pray on Lucia's feast day, December 13. Ships loaded with wheat arrived, with the saint at the helm, wearing a halo of candles. As legends will, this one grew and spread all the way to the Scandinavian countries, likely carried by priests, traders, or even the Vikings.  The Swedish Lucia story tells of a terrible famine in the bitter cold and dark of winter.  Miraculously, a ship appeared, and a young woman dressed in white, wearing a crown of candles, walked across the frozen lake with food for the starving people.  Soon, the days became longer, and Lucia is remembered as bringing light and nourishment to those desperately in need.  Today, Lucia celebrations recall the legend in song and pageantry.

      Reflecting on a somewhat unlikely subject for a devotional meditation, we might ask why  this legend has  endure and been repeated for centuries. A story of people suffering in cold and darkness, hungering for relief, and praying that somehow, someone will save them is timeless.  Day after day, we feel the forces of darkness closing in around us, moving seemingly inexorably across the world.  Our spirits grow cold, and, feeling helpless, we pray to be warmed and fed.

     Isaiah prophesied that the people living in darkness would see a great light, and these words of promise resonate across the years and around the world.  Our Advent journey continues, and we are assured that the Light indeed will shine on us once again.
Your friend in Christ,
Mary Rogers
Worship Times
Holy Communion
  Saturday 5:30 pm
  Sunday 9:30 am
Christian Education
  Youth 10:45 am  
  Adult 10:45 am  
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