Feast day: December 26
Stephen is the first Christian martyr. The word martyr means “witness.” Stephen was the first of many to live and die giving witness to their undying faith in Jesus. It is the courage and willingness of those first persecuted Christians that inspired so many others to follow this new faith.
Because he was the first martyr, the Church assigned the first day after Christmas, December 26, as his feast day. Stephen was also the first deacon in the Church. Traditionally deacons have taken care of those who are poor. Stephen's name appears in the Christmas carol, “Good King Wenceslaus” who looked out of his window and saw a poor man struggling through the snow “on the feast of Stephen.” Following Stephen’s example, the king personally provided food and drink for this man and his family. (Adapted from Good News Day to Day [Saint Mary’s Press])
(Image in public domain-100)