Friday, December 26, 2008

The Feast fo Stephen

"Lord Jesus, do not hold this sin against them." Acts 7:60

I can only write briefly because the house is full of family and there is much to do. Our second oldest daughter, Ariel, arrived yesterday with the wonderful news that she and Adam are engaged! Joy and excitement filled our Christmas. It was a wonderful day for us. And yet, Christmases are often very stressful times, not without pain and hurts that are inflicted by careless family members. Some people are overlooked or teased or misunderstood. Some times others are neglected and nobody seems to noticed their needs. In all of us are those times when a wonderful day like Christmas became a horrible personal tragedy. We might even have been scared for life by some cruelty or indifference at a very sacred and holy time. Whatever it is we have today - the Feast of Stephen. Stephen asked, as people were stoning him for loving God - for forgiveness and understanding for those who were killing him. The gift of Stephen is that we can be hurt and still ask God to forgive others and ourselves. In our shortsighted humanity, which we all share, any of us can perpetrate cruelty and thoughtlessness on those we love dearly.

May today be for all of us more than a day to clean up and recover. May today be devoted to forgiving - ourselves and one another. We have fallen short, but the Christ who came carries our guilt and shame and also our misinformation and healing. May we rejoice in God with us Emmanuel, who have come to forgive and heal us and our world.

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