- Baptist Beacon
Is Boxing Day and Christmas the same?
FENTON, MI – Boxing Day takes place on December 26th and is only celebrated in a few countries; mainly ones historically connected to the United Kingdom (UK) (such as Canada, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand) and in some European countries. In Germany it is known as "Zweite Feiertag” (which means 'second celebration') second to the traditional Christmas Day.
It was started in the UK about 800 years ago, during the Middle Ages. It was the day when the alms box, collection boxes for the poor often kept in churches, were traditionally opened so that the contents could be distributed to the destitute. Some churches still open these boxes on Boxing Day. In The Netherlands, some collection boxes were made out of a rough pottery and were shaped like pigs. To this day, many believe it was the beginning of the piggy bank children save their coins. It was also tradition that servants got the day off to celebrate Christmas with their families. Boxing Day has since become a public holiday when it is also the traditional day that Pantomimes debut.
Pantomimes today are little more than interactive theatrical events that allow the audience to participate in the story. More traditional pantomimes were based on the story of Christ’s birth and intended to educate those who didn’t know what Christmas was all about. The interaction was the opportunity to come forward and accept Christ as savior of their lives. Sadly, in later centuries more and more actors became involved and persuaded the theaters to change the storyline for entertainment value.
Boxing Day, December 26, is also St. Stephen's Day. St. Stephen is believed to have been a very early follower of Jesus, one of His disciples, and was the first Christian martyr. Stephen was stoned to death outside the gates of Jerusalem by some who didn't believe in Jesus. St. Stephen's Day (or 'the feast of Stephen') is when the Carol 'Good King Wenceslas' is set. It's about helping the poor - so it has a strong connection to Boxing Day. The king braved the winter storms to share food and blankets with less fortunate of his kingdom.
The conclusion can be drawn that Boxing Day is indeed very similar in tradition to Christmas. Boxing Day and Christmas are all about giving to others, intentionally sharing love, and caring for the needs of those less fortunate. Both find their roots steeped in Scripture, and modeling the Christian faith. So celebrate the days focusing on the true reason for the celebration, Jesus, Savior of the world.