Good King Wenceslas

Are you traveling to see family or friends for Christmas? How about traveling to a soup kitchen or a shelter to give back this holiday? That’s what Good King Wenceslaus did in the cold, bitter winter weather.

Today’s Carol of Comfort & Joy follows King Wenceslaus of Bohemia (modern-day Czech Republic) as he, on the feast of Saint Stephen, treks through harsh winter weather to serve a poor man who was out gathering firewood. The story is relayed to us by his page, who tells the king who the man is and that he lives “a good league hence” under a treacherous mountain.

What does the King decide to do, this Second Day of Christmas? He tells the page to fetch food and wine and pine logs – they’re going to give this man everything he needs and more!

Now, I won’t tell you how this story ends – you’ll have to listen to the great voices of Embers Academy sing it for you – but what I can tell you is that this song and legend of this Good King come from a Czech poem written in 1853. Good King Wenceslas, in this poem, is not actually a king, but a duke – and not only a duke, but a faithful martyr. His generosity echoed through time and is still sung about today, no matter what position he might have held when he was alive.

How can we embody this generosity this Advent? You might not be able to trek through the cold to give a poor man a feast, but maybe you can give some cans to a food pantry or donate gloves to a homeless shelter. Maybe you can offer a Mass for our poorest brothers and sisters this holiday season, who may be lonely or hungry or cold. This season of joy is also the perfect season for generosity – as we welcome Christ into our hearts, how can we help others do the same?

Now, listen to the Embers Academy choir sing “Good King Wenceslas”: 

Rev. Francis J. Hoffman, "Fr. Rocky" is the Executive Director/CEO of Relevant Radio and a priest of Opus Dei.