Tuesday, December 27

...on the feets of Steven

One of the more iconic of the 'second tier' of Christmas carols is that of Good King Wenceslaus, which is based upon the legend of Duke Vaclav I of Bohemia who was martyred for his faith. Unfortunately, most of us don't get past the 'feets of Steven' (well, that's how WE sung it when I was 12) and fewer still grasp the whole of the story which the carol is telling. 

In brief, on the night after Christmas it is bitterly cold and snowy. The king sees a poor man out on such a night gathering sticks for a fire. He finds out where the fellow lives (some three miles, on the edge of the forest), and sets out personally with wood, drink and food to dine with this peasant. The point of this tale is contained in the last verse, which I quote:
Therefore, Christian men, be sure wealth or rank possessing
Ye who now will bless the poor shall yourselves find blessing.
The 'good king' here doesn't invite the peasant into his house, nor to sup at his table amid the splendid finery.  No, he removes himself from his comfort to meet the poor man on his level, where he lives. Of course, that is what God-as-Christ did.  He became flesh to meet us where we are.  He shared the bitter cold and wintry nights, braved the snow and dark to sup with us where we live. That is the core of the Incarnation.

Thanks be to God.

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