The Feast of Stephen–Preaching Against Darkness

For those of you wondering when the Feast of Stephen is, which we hear sung about every Christmas season, it’s today; December 26th.

For many years across Europe, especially England, Christmas Day was not that highly celebrated.

It’s not that Christ wasn’t revered, it’s just that his death and resurrection, Good Friday and Easter, were considered the highest of all Holy Days.

When one looks at the feast of Stephen, in historical context, it’s clear that the death of a Christian Martyr was and still is the day in which their new life in Heaven, with God and Christ, began.

Darkness and death, by the world’s standards, for one in a State of Grace, is light and birth by God’s account.

Check out today’s first reading from Acts 6 and 7

Stephen, filled with grace and power,
was working great wonders and signs among the people.
Certain members of the so-called Synagogue of Freedmen,
Cyrenians, and Alexandrians,
and people from Cilicia and Asia,
came forward and debated with Stephen,
but they could not withstand the wisdom and the spirit with which he spoke.

When they heard this, they were infuriated,
and they ground their teeth at him.
But he, filled with the Holy Spirit,
looked up intently to heaven
and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God,
and he said,
“Behold, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man
standing at the right hand of God.”
But they cried out in a loud voice, covered their ears,
and rushed upon him together.
They threw him out of the city, and began to stone him.
The witnesses laid down their cloaks
at the feet of a young man named Saul.
As they were stoning Stephen, he called out
“Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”

The words of Stephen, as he spoke out against sin, irritated the ultra religious leaders of his day.

Too often, we are tempted to toy with darkness, having the attitude that because of our skill and knowledge of good vs. evil, we won’t be hurt by it.

This morning, since my toddler grandson is visiting, I nearly broke my neck tripping over a gate between the kitchen and the living room.

I knew it was there, but since it was still dark…well you know the rest…stubbed toes…spilled coffee…Lebanese cus words…

Don’t play around with darkness.

And…don’t underestimate the power of a Saint preaching against it.

Truth can move people, even unto death.

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