Despite its name, Boxing Day, which is celebrated on December 26 has nothing to do with the sport of Boxing or it a day for people to return unwanted Christmas presents. While the exact origins of the holiday are obscure, it is likely that Boxing Day began in England during the middle ages.
Some historians say the holiday developed because servants were required to work on Christmas Day, but took the following day off. As servants prepared to leave to visit their families, their employers would present them with gift boxes.
Another theory is that the boxes placed in churches where parishioners deposited coins for the poor were opened and the contents distributed on December 26, which is also the Feast of St. Stephen.
As time went by, Boxing Day gift giving expanded to include those who had rendered a service during the previous year. This tradition survives today as people give presents to tradesmen, mail carriers, doormen, porters, and others who have helped them.
The Feast of St. Stephen also takes place on December 26. St. Stephen was one of the seven original deacons of the Christian Church who were ordained by the Apostles to care for widows and the poor. For the success of his preaching and his devotion to Christ, St. Stephen was stoned to death by a mob. As he died, he begged God not to punish his killers.
So here is the challenge …. we should continue the tradition of St Stephen and celebrate our evangelizing and devotion to Christ on December 26th.
Use this day to look back on our efforts in the past year to reflect on them to see if they are “worthy” of stoning.
Did you play it safe or did you go to the point of being uncomfortable?
What action did you take this year that would bring Christ’s light into the darkness?
Prayer to St. Stephen the Protomartyr
O Great St. Stephen, the scriptures tell us that your face was like an angel’s as you witnessed to the truth of Christ.
Please ask the Most Holy Trinity to fill my soul and the souls of all my brothers and sisters throughout the world with a deep hunger for the truth that comes from the Heart of Jesus, and also with the loving courage to embrace and profess the truth even amid difficulties, confusion, and persecution.
May the serenity and peace which were yours at the hour of your stoning be ours as well as we wait in hope for the coming of the Lord Jesus who lives and reigns forever and ever.