The Feast of Stephen Protomartyr
Today is that day that Good King Wenceslas looked out on the feast of Stephen. Or, as I used to think as a child when the family sat round the piano as we sang carols, the day that Good King Wenslas last looked out, as if he were in the habit of looking out on a regular basis. It is, of course, the feast of Saint Stephen the first martyr. A day after we have celebrated the birth of the Prince of Peace we celebrate the death of a young man brutally murdered because some people didn’t like what he believed. Perhaps it seems odd to think about such things during this season of goodwill, but it’s a reminder that following Jesus isn’t an easy option. And we have been reminded of that fact by the news this morning that yesterday, Christmas Day, saw the bombing of churches in Nigeria. As we pray at our mass later this morning at St John’s for the victims and their families we pray also for Christians around the world who continue to suffer and die for their faith and for a greater understanding between those of different faiths.