A Random Act of Kindness on the Feast of Saint Stephen

The Christmas Carol, "Good King Wenceslas" is a very unusual Christmas Carol, for the words have nothing to do with the birth of Jesus!  Instead, the words tell the story of something kind the king once did on the feast of Saint Stephen - which is one day after Christmas (also known as the 2nd Day of Christmas).  King Wenceslas was the king of Bohemia in the 10th century and had great compassion for the poor.  This song shares of one December 26 when he and his page went to feed a poor man who was outside in blustery weather.  The page became bitterly cold trekking toward the man, but found miraculous heat coming from the footprints of Wenceslas, making the task more bearable.

Intriguingly, Saint Stephen was called to assist the poor of the early Christian community of Jerusalem.  (Acts 6:1-7)

Good King Wenceslas looked out
On the feast of Stephen
When the snow lay round about
Deep and crisp and even
Brightly shone the moon that night
Though the frost was cruel
When a poor man came in sight
Gath'ring winter fuel

"Hither, page, and stand by me
If thou know'st it, telling
Yonder peasant, who is he?
Where and what his dwelling?"
"Sire, he lives a good league hence
Underneath the mountain
Right against the forest fence
By Saint Agnes' fountain."

"Bring me flesh and bring me wine
Bring me pine logs hither
Thou and I will see him dine
When we bear him thither."
Page and monarch forth they went
Forth they went together
Through the rude wind's wild lament
And the bitter weather

"Sire, the night is darker now
And the wind blows stronger
Fails my heart, I know not how,
I can go no longer."
"Mark my footsteps, my good page
Tread thou in them boldly
Thou shalt find the winter's rage
Freeze thy blood less coldly."

In his master's steps he trod
Where the snow lay dinted
Heat was in the very sod
Which the Saint had printed
Therefore, Christian men, be sure
Wealth or rank possessing
Ye who now will bless the poor
Shall yourselves find blessing


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