Today in the Octave of Christmas - Second Day - Feast of St. Stephen

Today is the second day of Christmas in the Octave (eight days) of Christmas.  Today is celebrated with a similar solemnity to Christmas Day.  

Imagine:  where are those humble shepherds, who had been surprised by the angel late on Christmas Eve?  They likely returned to tend their flock, but, knowing that this divine child was nearby in Bethlehem, with His holy parents as well, perhaps they left their sheep again to greet Him on this second day of His birth.  Who could stay away after beholding such a wondrous sight!   


They would also be seeing the Star shining over the town at night, perhaps even slightly by day.  Since the Kings from the East (i.e. the Magi, the Wise Men) were traveling their way, likely with a large entourage, perhaps word of the arrival of these mysterious men from the East had already come to Bethlehem.  Had Mary and Joseph begun to wonder if these men were also coming to see their Son?


Saint Feast Day:  The Church also celebrates the feast of St. Stephen, the first martyr, the first to bear witness to the fact that Jesus is our God and Savior to the point of being killed by those who oppose this proclamation of Who Jesus is.


Christ came to set us free from bondage to sin.  In this celebration of the heavenly birthday of St. Stephen, we ask Our Lord to fill us with joy on this Christmas day and give us the courage to always hold the Christ Child dear to our hearts, even in the face of opposition.  We ask that Our Lord give us the grace to always love and pray for our enemies and those who oppose Christ come in the flesh.


Interesting history:  Today is the feast of St. Stephen because in the fifth century, 415, the tomb of St. Stephen, which had been lost and forgotten, was miraculously rediscovered.  The discovery was due to a vision where Gamaliel (Acts 22:3, etc.) appeared to a priest named Lucian and told him where the tomb was.  Gamaliel and Nicodemus had been buried in the same tomb as St. Stephen.  Gamiliel, who had been St. Paul’s teacher, had rescued the body of St. Stephen immediately after his martyrdom and buried it on his own estate.



Today’s Song:  “Good King Wenceslaus” tells the story of a Saint who went to tend to the poor on this day, in honor of the work of charity and care for the poor to which St. Stephen was dedicated.





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