Today was Santa Lucia Day. Lucy was an Italian saint that the Scandinavians love, mainly because her name means "light" and her feast day is during the darkest part of the year...right before Christmas.
So today we put up our Christmas tree, with lights aglow. The lights not only brighten up a dreary time of year, but remind us of the Light of the World whose return we await...and who calls us to be His Light in our community.
Since we missed celebrating St. Nicholas Day last week, we did that tonight as well. We read a story about the real St. Nicholas. As we discussed his generosity, the importance of giving and the reason why he gave to others. We asked the boys to think about ways they might give to others in need (beyond the shoeboxes we packed for children overseas the week before). We also gave the boys a gift, noting we give to them out of love and we hope they will keep that in mind during the Christmas season (Santa doesn't visit us, but we talk about the historical figure behind him instead, sharing gifts in St. Nicholas name now rather than bringing more into the celebration of Jesus' birth. I share this not to pass judgment or say my way is right, but merely to share our story of trying to make the Advent and Christmas season less hectic and more meaningful for our family. May you find the same in your own traditions).