Archive for December 26th, 2020

Close your eyes, breathe, and clear your mind. Be still. Center your scattered senses on God’s presence.

SCRIPTURE: Acts 6:8, 15:59-60

Now Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, performed great wonders and signs among the people. . . All who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked intently at Stephen, and they saw that his face was like the face of an angel…While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep.


Traditionally, the day after Christmas commemorates Stephen, a deacon in the early church in Jerusalem and the first Christian martyr. Stephen, in Acts 6, was selected to participate in a fairer distribution of welfare to the Greek-speaking widows.  There is a tradition, dating back to the Middle Ages, of giving money and other gifts to those in need on this day. Almsboxes in churches were traditionally opened and distributed to the poor.  In Britain, boxing day was celebrated, beginning in the 1830s, as a day where the British aristocracy were said to give their servants the day off and provide them with a gift of some sort in a Christmas box.  Other countries in the British empire adopted this tradition, as well as several other European countries.  While boxing day is not an established custom in this country, the spirit of giving being extended beyond Christmas day is a good practice to observe throughout the year.  Remember that generosity multiplies and is not something that should be reserved for one or two days of the year.  God calls us to be generous in our treasure and, also, in our relationships with others.  Stephen modeled generosity in sharing resources and in asking for forgiveness of those who were his enemies.  Where are we called to extend our generosity?

COLLECT:  Written by Collects are short general prayers used in Christian liturgy to draw our focus of worship.  The collect today is from the Anglican Church Book of Common Prayer.

O Glorious Lord, your servant Stephen looked up to heaven and prayed for his persecutors: Grant that in all our sufferings here upon earth we may love and forgive our enemies, looking steadfastly to Jesus Christ our Lord, who sits at your right hand and intercedes for us; and who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Click on the link to see and hear the music video.

MUSIC VIDEO:  Robert Shaw Chorale:  Good King Wenceslas

IMAGE: Peter Rubens:  Stoning of St. Stephen

Read Full Post »