“Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” Ephesians 5:15-16
“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.” Jim Elliot
Passing Down the Stories
In light of the many events around the world where faithful lovers of Jesus Christ are martyred, my heart cries out for help and understanding.
I wish I knew their names and their stories: the martyrs of past and present, whose biographies of life and death, though exceedingly numerous, have great power with which to teach us to live victoriously. I know one day in Heaven we will celebrate each of these precious saints, and behold the whole narrative of their beautiful faith in Jesus Christ.
The lyrics from the well-loved Christmas hymn, “Peace on earth, and goodwill towards men,” reflect some of the gentle aspects of Jesus. But as we remember the Christ Child, may we remember that although Jesus came to bring peace to earth, the Scriptures clearly state that He also came to bring a sword to our world, and even to His own mother’s soul:
“Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.” (Luke 2:34-35)
Jesus Himself told His disciples of the oncoming persecution and how simply believing in Him will force them to give their own lives as a sacrifice for their faith:
“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword” (Matthew 10:34).
This prophecy of Jesus came true, and millions of courageous Christians have given their lives for their faith down through the ages since the death of Jesus. It is impossible to know each of their stories, but thankfully, I do know some. We tried to pass some of these stories down to our children, and one of our favorites is the story of St. Lucia.
Since she is remembered at Christmastime, on December 13, I would love to share her story with you:
St. Lucia lived in Italy in the fourth century and resolved to live her life devoted to Christ and not to marry. Nevertheless, her mother arranged for her marriage to a Roman soldier, but Lucia refused.
Her heart was so committed to Jesus that she sold her dowry upon hearing about the Christians starving while hiding in the catacombs to flee persecution. She took the money from her dowry and brought food down to the Christians in their hiding places. Since it was dark, she made a crown of torches to light her way.
When her fiancée learned of her betrayal, he turned her over to the Roman authorities. She was tried and found guilty. The customary sentence for a woman without a dowry was life in a brothel. Legend says they couldn’t move her from the spot where she was standing, so they brought materials for a fire and stacked them around her. When the fire would not light, a soldier ended her brave life with a spear.
I can only imagine her excitement waking up to Jesus holding her face in His hands saying, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” St. Lucia lived a beautiful depiction of Christian dedication and sacrifice worth honoring. That is why we remember to pass down her brave story in celebration of her life.
As parents, we should use every opportunity to teach our children about the faithful saints who went before us and gave their lives for Christ.
For many years, our family has passed down the faithful story of St. Lucia. On the morning of December 13, I wake up my family wearing a crown of candles and carrying a tray of tea and gingerbread cookies called Pepparkakor. Imagine the excitement for a young child munching on a cookie while in bed, and hear the stories of St. Lucia and her often forgotten peers.
Click HERE for the delicious recipe by the wonderful Phyllis Stanley for delicious Pepparkakor cookies on our website!
St. Lucia day is now a national holiday in Sweden. It is delightful to watch each year’s celebration on the internet. I am thankful they remember her brave life.
May we all pass on the courageous stories of faithful Christians to the next generation.
Blessings and Love,