Just imagine using your Christmas leftover foods, unwanted Christmas gifts, duplicate gifts, etc. for the purpose of sharing with the needy or poor. Think about all the food you will be throwing out that could be used by someone in a shelter or out on the streets. What about the gifts of clothing your received and you know you will never wear them. Rather than putting them in the back of your closets, give them to someone who might be able to use them right now. The person who gave you the gift has probably already forgotten what they gave you.
There is such a day called Boxing Day that is celebrated the day after Christmas annually. This year the day was celebrated on Monday, December 26, 2022. Some of the countries that celebrate this day are Europe, Spain, England, New Zealand and Ireland and others. This is not a day Americans celebrate knowingly. Unknowingly, I am sure some of us were packing up our leftovers to share with someone else, giving tips to the mail and package delivery persons, visiting family and friends, etc. If so, you were participating in what is called Boxing Day.
Boxing Day is celebrated the day after Christmas for the poor and servants who could not be with their families on Christmas Day. Think about all the employees who had to work on Christmas Day and did not have the opportunity or privilege of being with family. Historians have provided evidence that reveals that it was common practice for people to have a Christmas box of money, gifts, or supplies to give to servants or others who provided yearlong services.
It was tradition for wealthy landowners and individuals to give servants time off during Boxing Day. It doesn’t sound like much, but at least the landowner had enough compassion to give the servant off to be with family.
Unfortunately, Boxing Day was originally established as a day to help the poor, but over the years, it has become a day of shopping or returning gifts. Today in England and other European countries, this holiday is more related to Black Friday in the United Stated.
During the reign of Queen Victoria in the 1800s, the concept and meaning of Boxing Day changed. On the day after Christmas, wealthy families would box up gifts of leftovers and presents for the poor and give them to the less wealthy families. It was also a time when individuals and families would give items to their church.
If on Monday, December 26, 2022 you spent time with family because you were not able to do so on Christmas Day, you were participating in Boxing Day. Did you go out on yesterday to eat or spend quality time with family? If so, it could be considered part of your Boxing Day celebration.
What we must not forget is that Christmas is all about the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ, into the world. Unfortunately, we have forgotten the real and true meaning and reason for the season. For many, Jesus is no longer even thought about during Christmas. It has become a time of materialism and consumerism. We must be reminded that the holiday is all about Jesus and not our gifts.
As children of God, we are expected to give to others. The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 9:6-8: “Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”
I am sure many or most of us have never heard of Boxing Day, but it would be wonderful if we could resurrect this day and resort back to its original intent. It is my hope that our church, Genesis Covenant Church and others will organize in such a way next year that we might be a blessing to someone after Christmas day. I hope I am sowing a seed for someone to embrace this concept.
Providing and giving to the poor is what Jesus expects us to do. The Bible tells us, “The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern.” Proverbs 29:7
Even though yesterday is considered Boxing Day, pull out a box today and give to someone who has been of great service to you. You might start with your mail carrier or your Instacart delivery. It is not too late to start packing those boxes.
Not a sermon, just my thoughts!
Robert Earl Slade, Pastor