December 26th commemorates the first Christian martyr, St. Stephen.
(not to be confused with St. Stephen, the first King of Hungary, or Pope St. Stephen I)
In the Bible (Acts,vi,5), the twelve disciples chose seven deacons to take over the menial task of providing food to the poor among the Christian community. Stephen was one of these lucky deacons.
He was so lucky that he got stoned to death for mouthing off to an angry group of accusers. Apparently, when he called his accusers "murderers", that pissed them off, so they gnashed their teeth and murdered him. Kind of ironic, isn't it?
Of course, he had been falsely accused - he hadn't really done anything wrong (that's what makes him a martyr and not just a punk).
His feast day has been memorialized in the hit Christmas tune "Good King Wenceslas" (excerpt below).
Good King Wenceslas looked out on the feast of Stephen.
When the snow lay round about, deep and crisp and even...