The Feast of Stephen.
For most non-Catholics, I expect the feast of Stephen is only a line from a Christmas carol, "Good King Wenceslaus", yet for Roman Catholics, it is much more than that. Immediately after the joyful birth of Christ, the feast of the holy proto-martyr Stephen is celebrated. The deacon St. Stephen was put to death by stoning, as recorded in the Acts of the Apostles. Though the heavens were opened and St. Stephen was consoled and strengthened by the vision of Christ in glory, the martyr's passion and death has much to teach us.
While the Christian is taken up in the joy and glory associated with the commemoration of the birth of Jesus, one may be assured one will also experience many of the same woes the rest of men encounter, which happen to be the effects of original sin. What is more, the Christian, trained in the way of penance and mortification, will not be surprised as they see fulfilled in their lifetime these words; "You will be hated by all because of my name, but whoever endures to the end will be saved." - Matthew 10:22
Art: St. Stephen Martyr, from Sub Tuum, the monastery blog by Br. Stephen. Please visit his site to read about his clothing in the monastic habit, and to get a glimpse of Christmas in a monastery.