Isaiah 40.25-31; Psalm 102; Matthew 11.28-30
Lucy (283-304) was born of noble parents in Sicily and was martyred during the Diocletian persecution. Her name is included in the Roman Canon, indicating the antiquity of devotion to her. Medieval accounts reported that her eyes were gouged out prior to her martyrdom; when she was being prepared for burial in the family mausoleum it was discovered that her eyes had been restored. For that reason she is the patron saint of those suffering eye disease.
Prior to the displacement of the Julian calendar by the Gregorian calendar St Lucy’s day was the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year. Lucy’s name in Latin, of course, means light, and so her feast day became a celebration of the Light which darkness cannot extinguish
[John 1.5], the Sun of Righteousness which rises ‘to give light to those who live in darkness and the shadow of death.’ [Luke 1.79] Celebrations were especially vivid in the northern Scandinavian countries, where typically the eldest daughter of the family is expected to rise before dawn and prepare a feast of exquisite breads and cakes. When all is ready she dons a crown of lighted candles and as the ‘bringer of light’ she goes to present the repast she has prepared to the rest of her family.