The tradition of planting wheat on Saint Lucy’s Day (December 13) comes from Hungary, Croatia, and other European nations. Plant wheat grains in a round dish or plate of soil, then water the seeds. Place the container in a warm spot. If the planting medium is kept moist (not sopping wet), the seeds will germinate and the shoots will be several inches high by Christmas. Then the new green shoots, reminding us of the new life born in Bethlehem, may be tied with a ribbon, if desired, and a candle may be placed near them as a symbol of the Light of Christ.
Place the plate of sprouted wheat near the Nativity set where it will remind all that Christ, the Bread of Life, was born in Bethlehem, whose name means “House of Bread.” The wheat recalls the Eucharist which is made from wheat. It also brings to mind Christ’s parables about wheat:
THE GRAIN OF WHEAT MUST DIE: Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains but a single grain, but, if it dies, it brings forth much fruit. (John 12:24) “Lord, may we die to self so that we will live for You. May we rejoice that those who, faithful to You, have left this world in death are alive with You forever. May we praise You for having died for us and bringing forth our faith as Your fruits.”
SEED SOWN ON GOOD GROUND: The farmer went out to sow, and seed fell into various places, some springing up and then withering or being choked out and other seed falling on good ground and yielding a great harvest. (Mark 4:1-20, Matthew 13: 4-23) “Lord, may we be good ground to receive the seed of Your word, and may we put that word into practice.”
WEEDS AMONG THE WHEAT: A farmer sows good wheat in his field but, when it sprouts, weeds are among it. He advises his workers to allow both to grow until the harvest when the wheat will be gathered into barns and the weeds burnt. (Matthew 13: 24-30) “Lord, help us to understand that evil and trial will be present in the world until your Second Coming. Keep us from being discouraged. Grant us the faith to know that You are in control and will gather those who remain faithful to You into Your eternal dwellings.”
THE RISING FLOUR: The reign of God is like yeast which, when kneaded into flour, makes the whole batch rise. (Matthew 13:33). “Lord, my soul is the flour into which I invite You to knead Your grace. As I feel punched and beaten and slapped around by life, let me realize that You are but kneading me into someone new and good.”
SEED GROWS UNAWARE: The seed that is sowed in the field grows of itself without the sower being aware of it. (Mark 4:26-29). “Lord, help me to realize that the seeds of faith that I am sowing in others, by my actions, words, and prayers, may be sprouting and growing even though I do not know it. Grant me sure hope that those for whom I pray will be saved from eternal death.”
SABBATH WAS MADE FOR MAN: Christ’s disciples were plucking wheat and eating it on the Sabbath. When the Pharisees complained that the disciples were working on a day on which no work was to be done, Jesus reminded them how David and his starving men had eaten food which was in the temple. “The Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath,” Jesus declared. (Mark 2:23-28) “Lord, help me to understand that charity toward others is the highest law and that keeping all Your laws to perfection avails nothing if I do not keep them with love.”