Thursday, December 26, 2013

on the feast of Stephen

The first saint of the Christmas season isn't really one I would have chosen, but Stephen "saw his glory," the glory the shepherds heard in the angels' song that Christmas night. As I reflected on Stephen and what his martyrdom says to me, one thing came out in a particular way. (I have to admit, this reflection was probably strongly influenced by the passage I read last night in the huge biography of Bonhoeffer that I am working my way through; the chapter quoted a letter of his in which he commented that our lives are so powerfully guided in God's providence that we have nothing to fear, not even what could kill us. Our death itself is in God's providence. As Stephen "saw the Son of Man standing at God's right hand," I realized that because of Jesus and the death he faced alone for us, no one will ever, ever be truly alone at death. 

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1 comment:

ACB said...

I was reading a short meditation on the feast of St Stephen and his martyrdom that also commented on it being the first saint we celebrate of the Christmas season and how could this be the true meaning of Christmas. Here is what the author, Donna Raye Nelson, OCDS, wrote:

"How could today's First Reading about a gentle and lovely man being stoned to death on account of the newborn baby, be the true meaning of Christmas? This baby who just yesterday held me in His warm out-stretched arms.

"Yet, in our heart of hearts we know it to be true. The Word becoming Flesh is not a "feel good" story, but the difficult loving necessity in God's plan for our salvation."

For the first time I understood why St Stephen's feast day might be the first one we celebrate right after Christmas.