How significant that Christ is vested in the robes of martyrdom at his birth, and the day after Christmas, the Church celebrates not just any saint, but the protomartyr – the first martyr. Christ is born the priest of his own existence. And the very next day we celebrate the feast of the first Christi;an martyr.
We read this norning: “Stephen, full of grace and power, did great wonders and signs among the people….St. Stephen was the first Christian martyr. Filled with the Holy Spirit, he died praying for those who were stoning him. Yesterday Christ was wrapped in swaddling clothes for us [as a dumb mute animal]; today he clothes Stephen in immortality. Yesterday the Christ-child lay in a small stable; today the immense expanse of heaven receives Stephen in triumph. God lowered himself to raise many on high; our King humbled himself to exalt his soldiers.