To be fair, it is a day when yet another fourth century bishop is remembered, or rather his torture and death is remembered. This one is late enough that I can hardly attach him to the Christmas season, except that it is the day he is remembered. The thing is, every day, someone who lived and died is remembered and honored, most days several are.
Today, I thought about the tradition of feasting because good faithful men died a bloody and harsh death. I remembered what Gary said at my father’s funeral, about death being a time of celebration for Christians, and that the day of a man’s death is more joyful than the day of his birth. I guess faith is the reason for celebration — those who die are in God’s hands, and out of the hands of those who would do harm for harm’s own sake. Those who love those on earth gain more and more friends in heaven to greet on the day of their homecoming — and, there are the famous ones as well… so much to do, and finally enough time to do all of it right. If nothing else, death is the final earthly task — work on Earth is often frustrating and fruitless. In heaven, work is no longer cursed.