They saw the child with His mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped Him. Then they opened their treasures and presented Him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Matthew 2:11
Boxing Day is a holiday celebrated the day after Christmas Day in the United Kingdom and Commonwealth nations. December 26th also commemorates the life of St. Stephan, a Christian deacon in Jerusalem, known for his service to the poor and the first Christian martyr (he was stoned to death in ad 36). In Britain, tradespeople collected “Christmas boxes” of money or presents the day after Christmas as thanks for good service throughout the year. Since domestic helpers would have to wait on their masters on Christmas Day, the servants of the wealthy were allowed the next day to visit their families. The employers would give each servant a box to take home containing gifts, bonuses and sometimes leftover food.
Today, in the UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, Boxing Day is primarily known as a shopping holiday, much like Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving) in the United States. Boxing Day sales with dramatic price reductions are common in Canada, often becoming the day of the year with the greatest revenue. My parents were married on December 26th, so it was a long-standing family joke that Boxing Day was the day my mom and dad got out the gloves.
The old tradition of Boxing Day reminds me that giving gifts doesn’t have to be limited to December 25th, or any other specific day of the year. The Magi were a little late for the party, but I’m sure Mary and Joseph appreciated them showing up, especially with some pretty ritzy gifts for that time in history. I imagine the frankincense and myrrh—and especially the gold—were put to good use in Joseph’s household. And the fact that these kings had travelled such a distance to see this special Baby made their visit all the more appreciated. Surprises are often the nicest presents, for both giver and receiver. So even when all the leftover turkey sandwiches have been eaten and the last guest has gone home, let’s continue the season of giving: of ourselves, our time and our talents throughout the new year!
Baby Jesus, You were the best gift ever to humankind! Help us to continue giving ourselves in Your name. Amen