Boxing Day Tradition ---
Definition of Boxing Day
Some countries have the Boxing Day tradition.
It's a holiday observed in Canada, the United Kingdom (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales), New Zealand, some parts of Australia, and in many Commonwealth countries.
When is Boxing Day?
Boxing Day is December 26, the day after Christmas. It is one of the 12 Days of Christmas. In many countries of Europe December 26th is known as St. Stephen's Day.
If Boxing Day lands on a Saturday or Sunday, in some countries the civil holiday is kept on the closest work day.
What is Boxing Day? - Definition of Boxing Day
The origin of the Boxing Day tradition is from 2 customs having to do literally with boxes on the day after Christmas.
- Boxes of food, clothes, and other gifts were prepared by the charitable wealthy and ruling classes. On the day after Christmas, they gave these boxes to workers in their employ, needy families in their territory, and in general, to those less fortunate.
- Alms boxes (or other vessels) were used in churches and sanctuaries on Christmas Day to collect donations and alms for the poor. The next day, the clergy opened these boxes and distributed the contents to the poor and those in need.
In a certain fashion, we see this practice observed in a way in America, with Christmas presents and bonuses given to employees, and Christmas food boxes or food baskets prepared for the needy. But usually, these are given before Christmas, so that those receiving them might be able to better celebrate Christmas day.
Boxing Day Meaning
Obviously, the meaning of Boxing Day is a charitable one. It is always the will of God that we take care of and share with those in true need, the deserving poor, such as:
The Widow's Mite
- widows unable to support themselves
- orphan children
- those with disabilities unable to work
- the sick unable to work
- those willing but unable to find work
- those who do work, but do not receive sufficient income to support their families in the necessities
Even if we have very little, we can always give a little, to receive the special blessings of God.
Remember how Jesus praised the generosity of the widow who gave all the money she had, just 2 very small copper coins, sacrificing what she needed for her sustenance, to the temple collection box. (Mark 12:41-44)
Jesus praised her as giving far more than the others, who gave money from their abundance.
No doubt, this widow woman has been taken care of in the lap of heavenly luxury for the past 2000 years - and will be taken care of forever.
Boxing Day Holiday Spirit
In our modern times, Boxing Day is often used as a day for sales. But the real spirit of Boxing Day, is a spirit of generous giving, especially if God has entrusted us with more of this world's material goods.
Technically, we do not totally own what God has given us, because we cannot take anything material with us when we die, not even a stitch of clothes, not a thread or fingernail.
Material goods are given to us to use wisely, to help us attain our eternal reward - or punishment.
We are stewards of these gifts of God, and we must render an account on judgment day. In fact, this is exactly what Jesus said we will be judged on. (Matthew 25:31-46)
I wrote a poem on God thanking us for taking care of his poor, even in little things, called Thank you, my Little Star
, after which I include this passage in the Gospel of Matthew.
It's our ticket to heaven.
Boxing Day Origins
In reality, the origins of generous giving on important holidays goes back to the biblical prescriptions God gave in the Old Testament regarding holidays.
In Leviticus 23, God gave instructions regarding holiday festivals. For the Festival of Harvest, also known as Pentecost, God makes prescriptions for a portion of the crop to be left for the poor and strangers to come harvest themselves, a practice known as gleaning. (Leviticus 23:22)
I wrote more on this in The True Meaning of Thanksgiving
A Time for Generosity
Boxing Day is certainly a good time to do a Generosity Check Up:
- Do we love our neighbor as ourselves? This is the second part of the Greatest Commandment, as Jesus reminded us. (Mark 12:31)
- Are we following the Golden Rule, to do to others and treat them the way we want to be treated. (Luke 6:31)
- A good way is to stop thinking of our selfishness long enough to put ourselves in other people shoes, how would we like to be treated? And then act on it, don't try to forget it.
- And with less than a week left until the New Year, Boxing Day is a great time to reflect, pray over, and start writing down some serious New Year's resolutions in regards to generosity.
- And then count your blessings, if your dare. You won't be able to, once you get to heaven, and begin to enjoy the reward of your generosity.
- And even in this life it will come back multiplied many times over. Just the joy that true generosity brings has to be experienced to be understood.
Boxing Day Tradition - A Little Different in America
In America, there are fitting and praiseworthy customs of preparing boxes of food, the giving of donations, the preparation of special free meals, and other services for the deserving poor around both the Thanksgiving (4th Thursday in November) and Christmas (December 25th) holidays.
No matter what the custom, the important thing is that we give - in a good and generous spirit - whatever we have to give, and feel God would like us to do.
God loves a cheerful giver. (2 Corinthians 9:7)
Washing dishes, a donation, a gift of food, the gift of our time, sometimes a shoulder for someone else to cry one, a word of encouragement.
Remember to send Thank you Cards!
If you are a recipient of someone else's charity, remember to pray for them, and send them a thank you card as soon as possible.
Maybe your country does not observe Boxing Day. Or maybe, you are not able to share very much at all with others. Don't fret, I have a suggestion for you.
You can celebrate your own version of Boxing Day. You can always pull out your little "box" of thank you cards
, and cheer someone else up.
Or maybe you are the recipient of a Christmas gift, or have even received a Boxing Day box. You can truly touch the lives of those who help you, by thanking them in writing for their thoughtfulness, dedication, and sometimes very hard work and sometimes truly sacrificial generosity to help others.
December 26th, the day after Christmas, is a great day to get started on your Christmas thank you cards.
Here's a little food for thought. At some point in our life, we have all been in need and rely on the help of others. Even if you're born with a golden spoon in your mouth, every baby came into the world dirt poor money-wise, with not a stitch of clothes. Everything has to be given - clothes, food, shelter, education. Human babies don't change their own diapers, and unlike animals, can't feed themselves for years.
And here's a biblical truth reminder. The Lord gives, and the Lord takes. (Job 1:21)
Even if we think we are financially secure, we can lose everything and be back to dirt poor in a jiffy. An accident, fire, and earthquake, ill health, death, and many other emergency disasters can come knocking.
Do good while you can. Generosity pays.
And thank your stars!
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