Friday, December 26, 2008

The Day After: Boxing Day!

Posted by Leona Bergstrom

There are several theories about what “boxing day” is – from being a day to clear out the boxes left from Christmas celebrations, to filling them up with decorations and holiday goods and putting it all away. Seldom acknowledged in the U.S, it is a statutory holiday in England, Canada, New Zealand and Australia. It was interesting to me to learn that the day actually is in commemoration of the Christian martyr, St. Stephen.

It was on this day that the less fortunate received gifts of money and material goods, without being expected to reciprocate. While it was useful in perpetuating the class lines of British medieval times, the idea is an intriguing one. What if we were to give to the less fortunate in even more abundance AFTER Christmas as we were prone to do before? What if we filled food banks to overflowing in January? What if we continued the spirit of Christmas throughout the year – in radical fashion? What if we were to continue to give to those in need, with complete abandon, without reciprocation, and with the message that the Christ child came to “bring good news to the afflicted?” (Isaiah 61)

During these tough economic times I’m reminded that giving to the less fortunate is even more important than ever. Boxing Day takes on new meaning.

(photo by nataliej, shared via Flickr)

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