The First Day Of Christmas

December 26 ? thoughts inspired by Canon Kate Tristram?s words at the 8.0 am Holy Island:

One day after celebrating Christ?s Nativity much of the Church commemorates its first martyr, Stephen. Why? This seems a major, unsuitable switch of gear and does not sit lightly with the glut of booze and buying that characterises today?s western Christmas.

The answer is, first, that martyrdom is a reason to continue, not to cease, celebration. Second, as the early Christian teacher Tertullian wrote: ?The blood of the martyrs is the seed bed of the church?. In other words, the number of people in whom Christ is born greatly multiplies. Third, it roots us in the reality of life. There was no birth without sacrifice. There is no ushering in of God?s society on earth without struggle and opposition from the selfish forces in and around us. There will be no resurrection without death

How different this is from the shallow Christmas that fills our shops and TV screens. Joy and suffering go together. Christianity is holistic. ?The holly bears a berry, and Mary bears sweet Jesus Christ. No berry without the sharp and prickly holly.

Posted at 01:52am on 26th December 2007
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