Reposting this piece from 2012 by Msgr Pope of the Archdiocese of Washington:
Many are shocked to walk into daily Mass on December 26 and instead of hearing more of the “Baby Jesus” we are confronted with Martyrdom, “The Feast of Stephen” is ancient on the Church’s calendar. More ancient than the Christmas cycle and hence it was not removed to another time.
Bu the martyrdom does not stop there. We are in the midst of the Christmas Octave, an Octave filled with blood as we shall see.
…Earlier this month, Catholics from Lyon in France brought their traditional December “Festival of Lights” to Erbil, the Kurdish capital, a hub of Christian refugees trying to survive the winter in flimsy tents. Lyon’s archbishop, Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, said French Catholics “didn’t want to simply send a message to the Iraqi Christians saying, ‘We’re praying for you,’” but rather to meet them in person and affirm that they had not forgotten their brothers.