Last Friday, we just celebrated Christmas day. Very interestingly, in our Church calendar, we celebrated the feast of the first martyr – St. Stephen.
Three reflections on these two celebrations:
- Christmas is about the birth of our Savior – God was brought to man. “Because God so loved the world that he gave us his only Son.” In today’s martyrdom of St. Stephen, man is brought to God.
- Christmas is about God’s response to a promise that He sent His Son so that all may be saved. In today’s martyrdom, St. Stephen is the beneficiary of that Salvation.
- Christmas is about Jesus celebrating the birth of earthly life. St. Stephen’s martyrdom celebrates birth to eternal life.
While St. Stephen was being stoned to death, He said, “Lord receive my spirit. Do not hold their sins against them.” One of the key virtues we can learn from the life of St. Stephen is forgiveness. If you think about it, the Christmas story started with forgiveness. When Adam and Eve sinned, the very first promise was a Messiah. It was the best way of God forgiving Man so that we all can be saved.
Hence three reflections of God’s Forgiveness.
- “It is in Giving that we Receive.” When we forgive, we receive a lot. We set free our emotions, we do not punish our bodies, and we can experience God more in our Spiritual life.
- Dwight Moody: “The voice of sin is loud but the voice of forgiveness is louder.” Indeed, while there is so much sin nowadays, we must remember that love still prevails. Part of love is forgiveness.
- Bernard Meltzer: “When you forgive, you cannot change the past. But you sure do change the future.” This is very important in a life that is short and swift.
As we go through this Christmas season and continue to give and receive gifts, we must remember one of the greatest gifts mankind has received and should give – FORGIVENESS.