Saint Stephen : A carol sung by tradition on 26th December,Boxing Day,
the feast of Saint Stephen who is, in the New Testament, the first Christian martyr.
The tragic events in Nigeria yesterday brought more Christian deaths and martyrs even before the New Year rings out, an ever constant reminder that even in the midst of new life we also live with death.
German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said: "Even on Christmas Day, the world is not spared from cowardice and the fear of terrorism."
UK Foreign Secretary William Hague said: "These are cowardly attacks on families gathered in peace and prayer to celebrate a day which symbolises harmony and goodwill towards others. I offer my condolences to the bereaved and injured."
The Vatican said attacking a church was "blind hatred" seeking to "arouse and feed even more hatred and confusion".
Fr. Stephen Smuts writes:
"Stephen died as Jesus did: falsely accused, brought to unjust condemnation because he spoke the truth fearlessly. He died with his eyes trustfully fixed on God, and with a prayer of forgiveness on his lips.
A “happy” death is one that finds us in the same spirit, whether our dying is as quiet as Joseph’s or as violent as Stephen’s: dying with courage, total trust and forgiving love."