The Daily Prayer
THURSDAY, December 26, 2019
Stephen of Jerusalem (?—35)
Stephen was the first in a long line of Christian martyrs. He looked on those who were about to kill him and asked the Lord to forgive them (Acts 7:60). His courageous nonviolence in the face of death resembled that of Christ. It is said that Jesus sat at the Father’s side after his ascension into heaven, but rose to greet Stephen when he arrived.
Fourth-century church father Gregory of Nazianzus wrote, “God became human and poor for our sake, to raise up our flesh, to recover our divine image, to recreate humanity. We no longer observe distinctions arriving from the flesh, but are to bear within ourselves only the seal of God, by whom and for whom we were created. We are to be so formed and molded by Jesus that we are recognized as belonging to his one family. If only we could be what we hope to be, by the great kindness of our generous God!”
Lord, your coming is still miraculous. Your joining the family of the poor and displaced still baffles and convicts us. Keep us by your manger until we learn the way of love. Amen.