The day after Christmas is known as Boxing Day in the British Commonwealth. It is said to originate from two different sources. One legend says that Boxing Day was a day when the servants of Lords received a box of small gifts and Christmas dinner leftovers. They were given the day off to travel to their homes with said boxes. Another tradition suggests that it is a reference to the Feast of St. Stephen, whose feast day falls on December 26th. Stephen was one of the men selected in the Book of Acts to ensure that the distribution of alms was done equitably, including the Greek widows who were being neglected. On the Feast of St. Stephen, clergymen take the alms that were dropped in boxes at the church on Christmas Day and deliver them to the poor in the village.
In both cases, Boxing Day is a celebration of offering charity to the marginalized.
What a lovely reminder as we bridge Christmas and New Years Day. Those who have received much are invited to give much.
Luke 14 (The Message)
12-14 Then he turned to the host. “The next time you put on a dinner, don’t just invite your friends and family and rich neighbors, the kind of people who will return the favor. Invite some people who never get invited out, the misfits from the wrong side of the tracks. You’ll be—and experience—a blessing. They won’t be able to return the favor, but the favor will be returned—oh, how it will be returned!—at the resurrection of God’s people.”
In this parable, Jesus seems to speak right into the type of Christmas that many of us experienced. We gave to our friends. We supped with our family. We received riches. We offered things to people who are able to offer things back.
But the way to be a blessing on Boxing Day is to box something up and give it to someone who had a scant or non-existent Christmas.
Your community has homeless people living in it. Your community has families who rely on assistance to make the most meager ends meet. There is need where you live.
What will you do on this Boxing Day?
God calls us to share what we have. Dig deep. Open up your eyes, your heart, and your wallet. Christmastide has only just begun, and it is always better to give than to receive. And this kind of favor is returned as you are blessed by your giving. You get to be a blessing today, and you will be blessed again at the Resurrection. Happy Boxing Day!