Dear friends in Christ,
I was not going to write a reflection this week, but then I was moved otherwise, and you got to move when the Spirit says move!
The three days after Christmas see 3 of my favourite (and I think some of the most important) feast days of the Christian year. However, they are often obscured or forgotten by the buzz around Christmas and then the festive fog that can go right up to New Years. I hope you can mark and remember, even if just for a moment, these important feasts with me this year.
Dec 26 - the feast of St. Stephen.
Stephen was one of the first deacons of the early Church, the group of people raised up to see to the practical needs of the vulnerable within the beloved community. He was also one of the first Christian martyrs.
Pray with me for those who die for their faith, even today. Pray for those called to the ministry of a deacon, and all those who serve the practical needs of the vulnerable in our communities.
Dec 27 - the feast of St. John.
This is our patron saint! It is unclear whether the gospel of John, the letters of John and the Revelation of John were all done by the same person, two people, or rather a “johannine” community. However, all of the writings associated with John are “out there,” very spiritual, challenging, but beautiful. John’s gospel is super different from the other 3; the letters combine heady theology with practical advice; and the revelation can be paradoxically both a source of fear and comfort.
Pray with me for those who are different, who bring different perspectives and challenge us. Pray for writers and mystics.
Dec 28 - the feast of the Holy Innocents
The Christmas story does not end with the shepherds and magi going home. It ends with the Holy family becoming refugees in Egypt because of an oppressive king. It ends with King Herod murdering all the infants to try eliminate the challenge to his power and control that he saw in Jesus.
Pray for the holy innocent who continue to be slaughtered by Herods today. Pray for refugees. Pray for justice and peace in a broken world.
Thank you for remembering with me. Thank you for keeping these feasts, if just for a moment, this year. Have a blessed rest of your Christmas season.