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26/12/2016

A spiritual comment and prayer to begin the day with Leslie Griffiths.

2 minutes

Last on

Boxing Day 2016 05:43

Script

Good morning.  I always found it odd that Christmas Day was followed immediately by a day dedicated to Saint Stephen, the first Christian martyr. I just couldn’t get my head around it. Well over thirty years separated the death of Stephen from the birth of Christ. The happiness of our Great Day is rudely interrupted by the unhappiness of the memory of this young man’s death. Boxing Day should be about long walks, festival football games, enjoying yesterday’s presents, lazing around: not thinking morose thoughts about a tragic event of long ago. Well that’s how I used to think. But no longer. It’s the story of good King Wenceslas that’s rescued things for me. It was on the Feast of Stephen that this powerful 10th century king, sitting comfortably in his castle, no doubt in the lap of luxury, somehow  spotted a poor man out in the fields beyond his castle gathering winter fuel and resolved to go out to help. In freezing temperature, he walked through snow that was deep and crisp and even, until he’d brought relief and given a good hot dinner to the poor peasant man. Here’s a Christmas story that’s shot through with the colours of faith and hope and love. There’s a cost to love – it may be braving the elements as with King Wenceslas or, even more radical, as in the case of Stephen, to brave the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. When Christmas amounts to more than mere self-indulgence, it becomes more comprehensible. We celebrate in this season and give God thanks for the best present anyone ever received – a gift that should stimulate us into a life of service and goodwill. Thank you, dear Lord, for the gift of Jesus. Blessed with your generosity, help us to be generous to others in our turn. Amen.

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