Acts 6:8-10; 7:54-59
Psalm 31:3-4, 6, 7, 8, 17, 21
On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me. . .
Today millions of people will be returning gifts they received for Christmas. Millions will brave the crowds to get the gift they really wanted. They will make the return to get the gift that fits better, looks nicer, or is more appealing for a host of reasons. Today millions may miss out on the greatest gift that they have been given.
St. Stephen knew about this gift and could not hold his tongue about it, even in the face of death. Today the Church honors Stephen for allowing the spirit of God to speak through him. The Church celebrates Stephenís love for God, a love that motivated him to hand over his life. Today we remember a believer who gave his all, just so that he could speak about Godís greatest gift, Jesus.
God invites us to be like Stephen, that is, to allow the Spirit to speak through us about Godís gift. We are called to speak about Christ and bring the light of Christ to those who miss the true gift of Christmas because of culture, greed or self-concern. We are the ones that can highlight the real meaning of the Christmas season. As stores pack up their decorations and millions follow suit, we can continue to unwrap this season for others. It is not a lot that is asked of us. All we need to do is really live this Christmas season and allow the season to live on through our lives so that others may realize that we have been touched by God. Let us not put away Christ into those boxes marked ďXmasĒ or forget about the love behind the gift giving. As believers we are called to do more. We are called to continue the songs of Christmas, to reach out to those in need, and to make present the peace of Christ.
Today we are called to keep unwrapping the gifts of Christmas for those that have not realized the special gifts that they have been given. They are not gifts that can be returned to any stores, but rather the gifts that God gives to us, the gifts of love. We can give and help others see the gifts of forgiveness, encouraging words, being present to others, really listening to those we take for granted, service to family, patience, kindness and an abundance of love that comes from God.
Today I pray that God gives us the graces to be like Stephen, to
speak out, and to make Christ come alive during these days of Christmas.
All we need to do is allow Godís spirit to fill us and let that spirit
overflow into our lives. I pray that we, like Stephen, realize that
our true love has given us eternal life and love.
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