Today is boxing day. Boxing Day is a holiday celebrated in Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and other Commonwealth countries since 1871 under Queen Victoria.
Some suggest it’s a day to box up old toys or clothes. There isn’t actually a boxing match, but it gives us the chance to take part in the post-Christmas sales and watch the World Junior ice hockey games. Plus return gifts we didn’t want or like (if you’re willing to stand in long lines).
The holiday may date from the Middle Ages (A.D. 400-1500), but the exact origin is mysterious. A ‘Christmas Box’ in Britain is a name for a Christmas present. Boxing Day was traditionally a day off for servants (who worked on Christmas) and the day when they received a ‘Christmas Box’ from the master. The servants would also go home on Boxing Day to give ‘Christmas Boxes’ to their families.
December 26th is also St. Stephen’s Day (The Feast of Stephen). St Stephen was a little known saint who achieved fame by being the first Christian to be martyred for his faith by being stoned to death shortly after Christ’s crucifixion. As he died, he begged God not to punish his killers. He’s also named in the Christmas song Good King Wenceslas, when the Duke of Bohemia, Wenceslas I followed a peasant out to his home with food and gifts.
It was the day when the alms box (possibly brought to the UK by the Romans) or collection boxes for the poor often kept in churches, were traditionally opened so that the contents could be distributed to poor people. Some churches still open these boxes on Boxing Day.
What will you do today? While not giving alms or returning gifts, I am doing good by donating blood. They say it can save the lives of 3 people! It’s in you to give. Happy Boxing Day!!