it’s a tradition


We had a tradition, begun over half a century ago by Scandinavian members of the congregation.

We had rules: Lucy must be a 2nd grader, the one with perfect attendance. There are 3 star pole kings. They are third grade boys.

3 boys and 1 girl, and girls, now in their twenties, still sad because they were not Lucy, even though they had perfect attendance.

This year we had no second grade girl. The boys around 3rd grade had already been kings. Two of them 3 times.

We had three crowns. A crown misplaced in the advent frenzy. A new one bought in November. An old one found in February. Twice.

We had three little girls. Age 6 now, they had been in church school together since they were 3.

We had 2 dresses and a grandma willing to make a 3rd. (Thanks, Mom!)

We had one boy, fifth grade now, who never got to be a king because Lucy was never on his dad’s week. We offered him the chance: One king to escort our three Lucys. It was not his dad’s week. (but “he’s hoping to be Joseph in the pageant. I told him it would probably be someone who has been at more rehearsals…” Yeah. He can be Joseph in the pageant.)

3 Lucys, no kings, a story on the back of the bulletin to explain, and to describe Santa Lucia, light-bearer, carrying the light of Christ in the darkness of winter. In the dressing room, while we ready the Lucys, a choir member grumbles. You could have found kings. We need the kings. Why aren’t there kings? There are lots of little boys. We smile. Change has been hard on her.

3 excited girls. 3 white dresses, red sashes, glowing crowns.

It’s time.

pic23971The congregation sings “Santa Lucia” and the girls walk slowly down the aisle to stand together on the chancel. The rest of the children follow, carrying boxes of cereal for the food pantry.

It is a bit of an odd thing for this Presbyterian congregation in the middle of this Latino city to hold dear. We will see what happens next year when, oh, all the girls have already been Lucy. huh. We will be careful and thoughtful and sensitive and theological because change is hard. And so much has changed in the half-century+ since that first Lucy–old enough to be these Lucys’ gramma and a vital member of this congregation–put on the crown and walked down the aisle. For now, we let our Lucys shine.

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4 Responses to it’s a tradition

  1. Silent says:

    I admit I don’t know a whole lot about Lucy–but 3 kings? As in the wise men kings? It seems to me that letting Lucy (or Lucys) shine seems ideal — with no kings. And I feel like I’ve seen pictures from Scandinavian countries where all the girls wear crowns of light. So maybe next year, it’s all the girls–or even the ‘girls’ in their 20s who are sad they never were Lucy when they were younger–or both. Yes, change is hard. But we celebrate the light that shines in the darkness that cannot be overcome. More light seems even better than not enough.

  2. Terri says:

    In this day, when we want our kids to love coming to church, all the kids should have an opportunity to participate and feel good about it – no hurt feelings, if at all possible. So, I LOVE this.

  3. Deanna long says:

    The 3 look precious together! So delighted to add the 3rd gown!

  4. Deanna long says:

    Saintly little angels loaded with impishness beneath the light!

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