Archive for December 26th, 2021

Reflection on Saint Stephen


Written by Karen Schultz, a contemporary author.

If I had to wager a guess, I’m going to presume that I’ll spend these first days of Christmas basking in all that is good in these holy days—the quiet peace of midnight Mass; the gentle joy that comes from taking in the sights of the Nativity at my local church; the flurry of presents being opened by starry-eyed little ones; and the fullness of meals shared with dear friends and family. There is so much that is good in my life this Christmas. I also know that at least a portion of these holy days will be spent reflecting on the imperfections of the season. Things like the physical absence of loved ones and the spiritual absence of relatives far from the Church. Things like the heartache of family misunderstandings that always feel more keen this time of year. Things like the longing that comes from prayers that simply weren’t answered on Christmas morning. I have to remind myself that even though Christmas is a beautiful time, it’s also a far-from-perfect time.

Every Christmas I also marvel at the Church’s wisdom to place Stephen at the very start of Christmastide. How fitting that the story of the first Christian martyr be told right in the beauty and messiness of the Christmas story! The Scriptures tell us that Stephen loved our Lord and King with a heart that was “filled with grace and power” (Acts 6:8). He had the joy of the Lord in his heart, even as he endured misunderstanding, abuse, and ultimately, death. You see, love for our newborn King didn’t mean that Saint Stephen was free from the sorrows of the human experience. But it did mean that he would go to the ends of all the messiness for the sake of the One Who came to us yesterday in a manger. I want a heart like Stephen’s, and I’m praying for that today for me and for you.


MUSIC VIDEO: Good King Wenceslas

Performed by Michala Petri, recorder and Danish National Vocal Ensemble

Saint Stephen Statue on Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris

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