Feast of Saint Stephen | Glenn Osborne

A reflection for the Feast of Saint Stephen, first martyr
by Glenn Osborne

"Good King Wenceslas looked out 
on the feast of Stephen 
when the snow lay round about 
deep and crisp and even"

This carol was certainly my first introduction to the Feast of St. Stephen, but I now have a cherished memory that occurred on that day.

My first year studying in France, I went to Vienna, Austria for Christmas. It was a musician’s paradise as I spent virtually every day at a concert or Mass with special music. I attended Midnight Mass at the Cathedral, which happens to be the Stephansdom (St. Stephen’s Cathedral). As my German was not quite up to participating, I greatly appreciated the use of at least four languages for announcements and during the homily.

After Mass was over, I headed to the train station to catch a night train to Innsbruck where I was to meet a friend the next day. I arrived very early, and because St. Stephen’s Day is a holiday in Austria, I began looking for the churches to see what music I might find there. It was still dark, but as I wandered over to the river, I had an opportunity to see how “the snow lay round about, deep and crisp and even.” I had arrived in Austria by night train, so until the sun rose in Innsbruck, I had not been able to see the Alps and their snowy peaks. The wonder of God’s creation was all around me and took my breath away. 

Prayer: Gracious God, on this 2nd day of Christmas, give us the eyes to see the beauty of the world around us and the strength of Stephen to proclaim your truth. Amen.