Boxing Day comes from a time when the rich would box up gifts for the poor. Boxing Day was traditionally a day off for servants. On this day they received a special Christmas box from the masters of the house. The servants would then take their box and head home to share it with their families. It was a time to surrender privilege -- if only once a year.
We live with tremendous privilege. Though we are all complaining loudly about the constraints upon our holiday season (from Thanksgiving to Christmas), the reality is that we are a very privileged people. Even the death of a quarter of a million is small in comparison to the burdens endured by others. This cumulative number of many months was endured by a much smaller population in a Tsunami that has escaped our memories. We have hidden away in our homes, comfortable with the abundance of resources and entertainment options available to us. Most of us have not had to sacrifice all that much financial (though some have certainly had to do so!). This is due to a pandemic that has proven 99% survivable. We should take care not to overestimate our sacrifice or the suffering we have borne. The poor and afflicted from across the world and throughout the ages should rise up to confront our self-absorbed complaint as hypocrisy of the worst type.
We need a Boxing Day to rise up from the ashes of this pandemic -- a renewed sense of appreciation for the riches of our blessing and a grateful heart whose thankfulness is revealed in deeds and not in effusive words. The truth is that I contribute very little to the Thanksgiving baskets or Christmas gift programs in my community. It is because these are so well funded and supported. It is the rest of the day that goes wanting. The day after Christmas, our Christmas spirit is ready to be packed away and the poor become again an unwelcome burden upon our self-indulgence. Boxing Day ought to come about once a month. Even then, a ritualized awareness of those in need is not at all what the Scriptures envisioned of a people who live in eternal debt to the unearned largess of our Savior.
So what is wrong with turning Boxing Day into the day we return unwanted gifts to exchange for the money or the stuff we really wanted? Or, what is wrong with turning the day into a sale day when we can spend our money and get what we want at a discount? Well, I will leave that to you. . .
Just a few thoughts on Boxing Day. . .