In our home, St. Lucy has a very special place in our Christmas preparations. But yesterday, on her feast day, we did not have our special "St. Lucia's Breakfast" -- yet! That is reserved for the Sunday before Christmas, when we officially start our celebrations in earnest!
We learned of this custom, which comes to us from Hungary, via the Sisters of Social Service, who send out a packet of wheat seeds every year as part of a fund-raising effort to support their work. (The actual custom, as they describe it, involves having the children save grains of wheat during the first two weeks of Advent, by placing a kernel into a bowl for every good deed, and then planting the seeds on St. Lucy's Day. I love this, but I always forget that part! Next year ...)
By Christmas Eve, the wheat should have sprouted and grown long enough that its grassy blades will make a nice, soft bed for Baby Jesus. The children will line the manger with a soft bed of wheat grass as part of an Enthronement Ceremony, at our beautiful porch Nativity.
In an effort to increase the likelihood of a good "harvest," we followed some directions we had on hand for sprouting Winter Red Wheat (we had a card with the following directions -- except for the Holy Water, that is! -- written down) .
First, the seeds were soaked in water all day (10-12 hours). Then we gathered all the things we would need: A nice dish, soil, soaked seeds, paper towels and black plastic (cut from a clean trash bag, in our case!)
The children filled the dish with soil ...
... and placed the seeds.
The seeds were given a gentle watering ...
... and a simple blessing with Holy Water.
Then the seeds were covered with a layer of 6 moistened paper towels ...
... and a layer of black plastic. (They will germinate under this cover for three days, then, hopefully, grow lush and strong in a warm, sunny place!)
St. Lucy's wreath, which Junie B. will wear next Sunday, was placed gently on top, on our little Advent altar.
And now ... as in all of Advent ... we wait!
If you would like the Sisters of Social Service to send you a packet of wheat seeds every year (there is no obligation, though I am sure they would appreciate your prayerful consideration of their needs), contact them here to be placed on their mailing list:
Sisters of Social Service
296 Summit Ave.
Buffalo, NY 14214