Wake the Day With Gladness

This Morning’s Sonshine Broke Through Storm Clouds

Today we commemorate the heavenly birthday of sainted Good King Wenceslas! Many westerners have been introduced to him through an ancient Christmas Carol, retelling one of his miracles.

In this carol, St. Wenceslas helps distribute alms to the needy on the Eve of the Feast of St. Stephen the Apostle, Deacon, and Protomartyr (celebrated on the third day of Christmas); when the churches were opened and yearly collections from the Poor Alms Boxes were dispersed among the needy of the community. This was the original purpose and meaning of Boxing Day!

St. Wenceslas was martyred on today’s date (September 28/October 11) in the year 935. He is buried in Prague. 

A beautiful hymn was penned in the 9th century by St. Joseph the Hymnographer – a Greek monk, and one of the many liturgical poets and hymnographers of the Orthodox Church. The hymn was later translated into English, and woven into the ancient 13th century carol melody used for Good King Wenceslas.

This ancient hymn was also later sung on St. Stephen’s feast day and many other special days of the martyrs. Some churches add on St. Joseph the Hymnographer’s hymn to carol of Good King Wenceslas, as an extra and final verse:

Christian friends, your voices raise.
Wake the day with gladness.
God Himself to joy and praise 
turns our human sadness: 
Joy that martyrs won their crown, 
opened heav’ns bright portal, 
when they laid the mortal down 
for the life immortal.

Whatever we do, let us always try to do our very best to please God our Creator… that we may wake each day with gladness, and rejoice to see heaven’s bright portal break through the clouds… to illumine the way ahead!

Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might

Happy 3rd Day of Christmas

Christ is Born!

Today we celebrate Righteous Joseph the Betrothed, protector of the Virgin Mary, as well as the Feast of St. Stephen the Archdeacon and Protomartyr.

St. Stephen was one of the seven original deacons of the Church, ordained by the Apostles to care for widows and the poor.

The eastern church observes St. Stephen’s Day on the third day of Nativity, and not on the second day, as western churches do. Since times of antiquity, on this day the Church Collection Boxes, of cash, food and clothing hampers were opened and given to the poor and needy... the Original meaning of Boxing Day!

Of course, it’s spiritually beneficial to distribute alms in the memory of a loved one, not only at Christmas, but on any day of the year. …Ye who now will bless the poor, shall yourselves find blessing! Many have heard about the “Feast of St. Stephen” from Good King Wenceslasa carol set to a 13th century melody.

An Everyday Carol below – by 9th century St. Joseph the Hymnographercan be sung to the 13th century melody we know as Good King Wenceslas!

Christian friends, your voices raise, wake the day with gladness.

God Himself to joy and praise, turns our human sadness:

Joy that martyrs won their crown, opened heaven’s portal,

When they laid the mortal down, for the Life Immortal.

Christ is Born! Glorify Him!

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