St Lucy, and another Ember Day during Advent

Purple hair with red stripes IIAnother Ember Day today. They come in threes, you see.

On Wednesday I found the spray I used kept flaking off an irritating my throat. Not good. So today I’ve used some hair gel I had lying around, and mixed in some red food dye powder from the Turkish shop next door, as well as some talcum powder to thicken the mixture. It has made a more brilliant red than before, and isn’t irritating my throat, but the hair gel means it has set like glue and those bits of my hair are quite hard to the touch.

The second Common Worship collect for Embertide is more specific than the first, with a focus on deacons and priests:

Almighty God, the giver of all good gifts,
by your Holy Spirit you have appointed
various orders of ministry in the Church:
look with mercy on your servants
now called to be deacons and priests;
maintain them in truth and renew them in holiness,
that by word and good example they may faithfully serve you
to the glory of your name and the benefit of your Church;
through the merits of our Saviour Jesus Christ,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

When I was growing up we spent some time in Calgary, Alberta, and someone from church there had Swedish ancestry. Every year she used to hold a Santa Lucia party on 13th December. So it was that a Canadian kid learned about the tradition of the eldest daugher in a Swedish household getting up early and feeding the rest of the family breakfast while wearing a crown of candles on her head. Health and safety? What’s that? We didn’t do that at Brenda’s parties, but there was always food, and there was always music. I particularly liked singing the Twelve Days of Christmas (even if it was early): each person or group of one or two would take an item in the list, and when Mum and I got “five gold rings” we’d improvise all sorts of interesting things. My memories of these parties are of warmth and light, and I look back on them fondly when St Lucia’s day comes around again each year.

Here is the Common Worship collect for St Lucy:

God our redeemer,
who gave light to the world that was in darkness
by the healing power of the Saviour’s cross:
shed that light on us, we pray,
that with your martyr Lucy
we may, by the purity of our lives,
reflect the light of Christ
and, by the merits of his passion,
come to the light of everlasting life;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.


And here’s a version of “Sancta Lucia” which I think is rather lovely:

PS — I also released an album on Bandcamp today…. more on that in the next few days!