Christmas is not just a day, but a season of 12 days. You could hardly tell it if you looked at my street this morning. Christmas trees were already discarded and decorations were coming down. Listening to the radio from Syracuse to Waynesville all day yesterday, the music switched abruptly back to the usual music.
It is only in the alternative world of the Church that we keep up the greenery, sing the carols and celebrate the birthday of Jesus until January 6th–The Epiphany of our Lord. (This is betting that many of the folks who read this are in the habit of keeping the 12 days).
The 12 days has three special days in a row to kick off the season. I was on the road all day yesterday and did not post on the Feast of St. Stephen, the first martyr. Today is the feast of St. John the Evangelist, and then tomorrow is the feast of the Holy Innocents. We are a strange bunch who celebrates birth with three days of martyrdom. But then again, life comes to us in many ways when you follow Jesus.
Stephen, Deacon and Martyr
We give you thanks, O Lord of glory, for the example of the first martyr Stephen, who looked up to heaven and prayed for his persecutors to your Son Jesus Christ, who stands at your right hand; where he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.
Shed upon your Church, O Lord, the brightness of your light, that we, being illumined by the teaching of your apostle and evangelist John, may so walk in the light of your truth, that at length we may attain to the fullness of eternal life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen
May the celebration of the Incarnation continue in your life…