Stephen, filled with grace and power, was working great wonders and signs among the people.

Wow – what a great day yesterday!!  Mass in the morning, nap in the afternoon and Christmas with Sarah’s family.  There is a lot going on today too.  Today is the last feast day of the year for my “namesakes”.  St. Jerome is celebrated in September; St. Francis in October and today I celebrate my chosen confirmation name – St. Stephen.  Stephen was among the first 7 deacons ordained to assist the Apostles and is venerated as the first martyr for the Church.  I found a beautiful article on line that explains why we celebrate his martyrdom the day after Christmas.  Yes, there is deep meaning behind it.

Ever read a great literary piece of work?  The words from the book, document, speech just seem to flow and you never forget some of the lines from it…

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Call me Ishmael.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed.

In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the eartha2* and the earth was without form or shape, with darkness over the abyss and a mighty wind sweeping over the waters—

But to me the most beautiful words ever written comes from yesterday’s Gospel written by St. John.

In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God.
All things came to be through him,
and without him nothing came to be.
What came to be through him was life,
and this life was the light of the human race;
the light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it.
A man named John was sent from God.
He came for testimony, to testify to the light,
so that all might believe through him.
He was not the light,
but came to testify to the light.
The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.
He was in the world,
and the world came to be through him,
but the world did not know him.
He came to what was his own,
but his own people did not accept him.

But to those who did accept him
he gave power to become children of God,
to those who believe in his name,
who were born not by natural generation
nor by human choice nor by a man’s decision
but of God.
And the Word became flesh
and made his dwelling among us,
and we saw his glory,
the glory as of the Father’s only Son,
full of grace and truth.
John testified to him and cried out, saying,
“This was he of whom I said,
‘The one who is coming after me ranks ahead of me
because he existed before me.'”
From his fullness we have all received,
grace in place of grace,
because while the law was given through Moses,
grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
No one has ever seen God.
The only Son, God, who is at the Father’s side,
has revealed him.

Christ was there in the beginning; Christ is present with us now; Christ will be forever.  We have all been given a great gift – a savior born for us to save us from all of our sins; to bring peace, joy and healing to a hurtful world; a savior who sacrificed His life in order that ours might become eternal.  A greater gift has never been received; a gift for me.  But not just a gift for me, but for ALL.

Do something great for our Lord today.  Accept the gift He offers; accept Christ into your life.  Never will you find anything more precious than the gift that God gave us so many years ago.  I pray you all enjoy your Christmas season, which by the way extends until January 12, 2020.

God’s will, not mine, be done.

Be not afraid; just have faith.

Jesus, I trust in You.

He must increase; I must decrease.

But you man of God chose righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience and gentleness.  Compete well for the faith.

For unto us a child is born.  Merry Christmas.

One last little present for you – From the Fullness of His Love

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