Today, December 26, is the second day of Christmas, the sixth day of Hanukah (Hebrew) and the first day of Kwanzaa (African American). May we learn about our own and each others’ celebrations. It’s easy, just Google the words above.
For us Christians the mystery of Incarnation (God-becoming-human in the person of Jesus Christ) needs more than one day to celebrate. Here is Day Two: The Catholic liturgy centuries ago put the feast of St. Stephen, the first martyr, the day after Jesus’ glorious feast to show that our faith is not sentimental but requires of us heroic, sacrificial love. Stephen fearlessly witnessed in court (the word martyr means witness) to his conviction that Jesus is the Messiah, knowing that his testimony was his death sentence. (Read the account of Stephen’s testimony and martyrdom in Acts Chapter 6).
How heroic is our love, Lord?
Do we abandon people — our friends, our lovers, our spouses, our children when the going gets tough?
And I ask you please to be with those who have been abandoned by loved ones, Lord, like children of alcoholic parents or kids who have gone through the foster care system and may never feel Your Love, as a result.
Are we only concerned about our own survival? What’s best for Number One — Me?
Are we willing to sacrifice for the sake of a friend in need — for You, Lord?
I ask you, Lord, on this second day of Christmas 2008 that you would allow me the grace to give my life in the service of my friends and those you present to me to care for.
Allow me the grace to always witness to your love for me, Lord, always to share it.
My life has meaning only when I share the love and kindness you have shown to me. Allow me the grace to do that this day, St. Stephen’s Day and every day.
Stephen, a young man, has always been one of my heroes, Lord.
We need such heroic love in our time, Lord, such heroic young people.
Inspire young people to break through the wall of their isolation and be there for their friends in the hard times ahead, Lord.
Teach us to never abandon a friend, Lord.
And let my readers know that you love them, Lord, and will never abandon them either, no matter what.