The Lucia celebration on December 13 is a Swedish tradition that lights up the dark of winter. I have not spent many Decembers in my birth country, but one December I was chosen to be the Lucia.
I was seventeen and studied at a Bible Seminar. My fellow students chose me to be the Queen of Lights. I dressed in a white gown and had a crown of candles on my head. With the rest of the girls, also in white gowns, we went caroling very early in the morning to the homes of our professors. We also went to sing for my Mom and Dad. Mom was so excited she thought we were angels.
My girl –Eva-Marie–, who went to be with Jesus thirteen years ago on the thirteenth of December was the Lucia one year at boarding school for missionary children in Cochabamba, Bolivia. I’m so glad I have this picture to remind me of a joyful moment in her life, but most of all, as a reminder that she is now surrounded with light, in a world where there is no darkness, where God himself is the Light. God is Light and there is no darkness in Him!
I’m glad I can remember the parting of my girl as a day of light. For us that stay behind it is a sad moment and we miss our loved ones, but for those that have gone on ahead to our heavenly home it’s the greatest and most joyful occasion.
So, what was so special about my girl? She was mine! No, forgive that statement. She was a loan to me and my husband. We had her for 31 years. I have written about her before, that she had cystic fibrosis. But she did not let that stop her. She loved life! Whenever she had a good day –very few because of pain– she would about drive us crazy because she wanted to pack so much into that “good” day.
She loved to play office as a little girl. It was natural because I had a publishing ministry. I don’t remember her playing so much with dolls. That was her sister’s department. But as an adult she loved collector-dolls!
She loved to teach Sunday school. She had her first lesson when she was 2 years old. She took a postcard with her and told the children about Jesus.
She loved to study the Word. When she was 9 years old we had the opportunity to go for a few days to camp-meetings. She got up early and went to all the Bible studies. That is where she was baptized in the Holy Spirit.
She loved books, especially the last years of her life. Her system of keeping track fo her books was an art. And she would contact the authors and give feed-back. Her room was packed with books.
She loved to talk. We had a friend who also loved to talk. When we shared meals they would have to raise their hand and ask to be allowed to speak –“pido la palabra” (Spanish)–, otherwise nobody else had a chance to say anything.
She loved her daddy. She loved me, too, but her Dad was so special to her. I have a beautiful memory from when my husband had knee surgery. She prided herself in taking care of him.
She loved her puppy. Since she was home-bound she wanted a friend. She bought a toy puddle that became the love of her life, our little Smulan (little crumb in Swedish).We had to get her on credit and it took us a few years to pay her off. That was one of our best investments.
She loved her sister. We used to pray together for her, that she would find a husband and fulfill her dream of being a mother. Eva-Marie never saw those prayers answered. Maybe God lets her have a peek at her sister now, with her big family.
She loved Jesus. We prayed for her healing, but she said, “It doesn’t matter if I don’t get healed. I’ll serve Jesus just as much.”
I could go on and on remembering my precious girl. Thirteen years ago and December thirteenth her body was ravaged by infection. She was on a ventilator, and the doctor said they were waiting for us to decide to pull the plug. That was hard. But she was already gone. I remember telling her, “It’s okay. Go home to be with Jesus.” She left. And she left a big, gaping hole in my heart.
Short of two years later God gave us a boy –my grandson David–, who filled that hole. Then the girls have come along. I just wish Eva-Marie could have met them.
Now I will enjoy a couple of weeks with them. And as usual I will mention something about their Aunt. I wish they could have known my First-born.
Eva-Marie, until we meet again in Heaven, I will keep your memory alive!