Lucia!

Var några dagar sedan jag skrev här nu. December är liiite stressigt, för att uttrycka det milt.
Bland annat är det luciatåg både här och där. Här är, på allmän begäran, det tal jag höll på luciafirandet med Svenska Handelskammaren.  Talet är på engelska, och ja, jag vet, min engelska är inte den bästa. 😉

It may seem a little bit strange anyway, that a country, far up north, best known for cold winters , safe cars and good pop music once a year to celebrate a Catholic saint . Wasn’t swedes Lutherans? Yes we are. At least those of us who admit they belive. If you ask a Swedish  in general if he believes in God, the answers are little bit more vague. Most common answer is something like:. “yeaa, well ok … maybe in a higher power , but not like that the Church teaches .”
Yet , every year at this time Sweden go nuts. And every Swede , wherever he is in the world, can be heard humming Natten går tunga fjät… , or  Staffan var en stalledräng…. And every housewife know the exact price of saffron, the key ingredient for saffranbuns.
Why ? Why all this fuss about a poor saint?
Historians explain it with nice words that there is a mix of ancient folklore.
It was thought that the night between 13 and 14 of December was the longest night and that night animals could talk and we had to watch out for terrible things.
It is a mix of this is ancient folklore it´s said, and of later Christian tradition.

Lucia as we know her today . A young woman with candles in her hair , is rather modern. We hear about her the first time about the 1760s.
And remember, I´m a priest. I´m talking about the same man that we talked about for 2,000 years. 1760, it´s only yesterday. But whatever . The first mentions about Lucia-celebration is actually from my old home area of Västergötland. Near Skövde.

1920 the celebration takes off. Starting to get popular. 1927 it´s the first official Lucia celebration in Stockholm. And if they would have had twitter at that time, it would have trended sky high. Soon it´s Lucias in every corner and school. And it becomes that typical Swedish tradition as we know of today.

But still, we celebrate , in the Lutheran Sweden , a catholic saint. Why ?

Why is Lucia so popular?

And I think it’s because she capture the Swedish soule perfect.

She bring, traditionally, coffee and buns . And we all know that two Swedes cannot meet without drinking coffee! Swedish and Finnish consume most coffee in the world. And yes, Lucia you can find also in Finland.
Lucia comes when it is darkest , and shed light . And we Swedes , we know a lot . But we do not know how to give up . Even when it´s pitch black, we try to shed light, we try to speak for justice, for hope.
We may not be so many, but Lucia shows us that all it takes is a single light to dispel the darkness.
And that´s the word we tonight want to share with you.

All it takes is a single light to dispel the darkness.

And I want to end by quoting a man who even during the 27 years in prison was able to spread hope and light . Mr. Nelson Mandela

We can change the world and make it a better place . It is in your hands to make a difference .

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