Daily Christmas Devotion, Thursday December 26

Thursday, December 26, 2013 – Psalm 138; 2 Chronicles 24:17-22; Acts 6:1-7 and Acts 7:59-8:8

Luke 2:8-20 continued reading from Luke; the Shepherds and the Angels.

Today is the feast of St. Stephen, known as the first martyr of the faith. To read about the calling of Stephen and then his being stoned for his faith read the readings from Acts. This being the feast of St. Stephen’s is why the gospel lesson is listed as Acts 7:59-8:8.  Along with our Lord Jesus Christ, Stephen is remembered for having said; “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.”

Acts 6:1-7 – 5What they said pleased the whole community, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, together with Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. 6They had these men stand before the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them.

7The word of God continued to spread; the number of the disciples increased greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.

Acts 7:59-8:8 – 7:59While they were stoning Stephen, he prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60Then he knelt down and cried out in a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he died.

For those of you who would like to continue your journey with the readings of the birth of our Lord, return with me to Luke 2, verses 8-20

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke%202:8-20&version=NRSV;MSG

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”

What strikes me is how in Luke it was the shepherds who first heard of the birth of Jesus, who would be the Lamb of God sent to save us from our sins. Seems appropriate that it is the shepherds who first hear and come to Jesus.

O God, on this the First Day of Christmas, may we continue to focus upon your gift given unto us. Stephen and all the early Christians had to face the risk of dying for their faith. Many of your people even today do as well. Help me speak openly of your love given in Christ, for this is your call to us your people of today.

Psalm 138 – I give you thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart;

Amen.

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