The feast of St. Barbara on December 4 may seem to have no apparent connection with Advent other than the date; but it does connect, as you will see. She is especially important to our children, and they consider it “de rigueur” to salute her on her feast day since she is the patroness of those who call for protection against lightning and electrical storms.
She was the daughter of a pagan who placed her in a tower surrounded by marvelous gardens, and sent philosophers, poets, and scholars to teach her all things. Convinced that polytheism was nonsense, she consulted Origen, one of the most brilliant and controversial of early Christian apologists; he sent her his disciple Valentinium, who forthwith instructed and baptized her. She thereupon threw all the statues of pagan gods and goddesses out a window of her tower, traced the Sign of the Cross everywhere on the walls, and had a third slit of a window cut in honor of the Holy Trinity.
This upset her father no end. He had her dragged out of the tower, but she somehow escaped to the mountains as he was about to slay her. He pursued her and dragged her back by the hair of her head (which is why she is sometimes pictured being dragged about by the hair) and handed her over. She was beaten with rods, torn with iron hooks, and suffered other horrible torments.
The best part of the story is that, as she was being carried to Heaven by the angels, her father is supposed to have been struck dead by lightning and “hurried before the judgment seat of God.” Hence her concern that we be preserved from lightning and from a sudden and unprovided death. She is also patroness of firemen, mathematicians, firework makers, artillery men, architects, smelters, saltpeter workers, brewers, armorers, hatters, tilers, masons, miners, and carpenters, and she is invoked against final impenitence.