Today is the Feast of St. Lucy. A beautiful feast in its own right, but I’ve been waiting for this day for another reason. It’s time to plant the Christmas Wheat.
There are so many beautiful Advent traditions from all over the world that seem to be slipping away as we are pushed by a consumer-driven society to rush into each season. I’m so looking forward to slowing down into this one.
The process of planting a seed, hiding it away under the soil so it can quietly do exactly what it was hard-wired to do…it pulls me back into the patience and wonder of this season. And the timing of doing this during Advent in order to prepare a small gift for the Infant King…it pulls me back into the true purpose of all preparation, teaching me my role and place in His plan.
I can’t control the process itself (how the seed is hard-wired, what the requirements are for its growth, etc.), that belongs to God. But I can control what I do with all the resources available to me and my level of participation in that process. My actions (or inaction) will either help that seed thrive or add to its struggles. And isn’t that true of my participation in all of God’s creation? In every interaction with His creatures and even within my own soul?
Sometimes it takes choosing to begin. Learning the process and gathering the resources.
Sometimes it takes waiting and watching for the next step.
Sometimes it takes digging and pruning.
Sometimes feeding and watering.
Sometimes, I simply need to be kind enough to set it in the sun or bring it back into the shade.
Most of the time it means asking for help and guidance, from the One who created it and from those who have done it before.
To know which time it is and act upon it requires the most important task of all.
O my soul, it’s time to slow down again and re-read the instructions. Time to remember what you’ve been asked to do (and what you haven’t). It’s time to take a minute to wonder in awe over all of this, to be thankful that He even wants your help in His process, and then time to put in the effort. Pay attention, so that when the King arrives, you can give Him something ready to harvest.
“It is an ancient Hungarian custom to offer to the Infant in the manger the green sprouts of wheat. Agriculture is the mainstay of the Hungarian nation, and wheat is the symbol of sustenance and prosperity for this nation. It is therefore the most suitable gift for the newborn Savior. But it also has meaning for everyone.
The ‘new wheat’ symbolizes the ‘new bread’ in the natural order and also the ‘New Bread of Life’ in the supernatural order; for it is from wheat that the altar bread, which becomes the Holy Eucharist, the bread of our souls, is made.
The wheat seeds are planted on the day of St. Lucy, the virgin martyr, December 13. Kept in a moderately warm room and watered daily, the plant reaches its full growth by Christmas. The little daily care given to it is flavored with the joy of expectation for the approaching Christmas, and it spreads the spirit of cheerfulness as the tender plant reminds us of our spiritual rebirth through the mysteries of Christmas.
To plant the seeds, take a flower pot four or five inches in height, and fill it with plain garden sod. Spread the seeds on the top and press gently, so that the seeds are covered with sod. Do not push them too deep. Watered daily at the manger and paying its simple homage to the newborn Savior, the plant will last until about January 6.”Maria von Trapp, Around the Year with the von Trapp Family