This morning I asked my smart speaker, that was by my bed, what was the time. The female voice told me and then wished me “Happy Boxing Day”!!
Boxing Day got its name when Queen Victoria was on the throne in the 1800’s. The name comes from a time when the well off used to box up gifts to give to the poor. It was also traditionally a day off for servants, and the day when they received a special Christmas box from their masters. Those in service would also go home to give Christmas boxes to their families. Today, in years past, was the day when shops opened for the January sales. Sadly most of the county is in lockdown with only essential shops open.
Today is the feast of St Stephen when we remember his martyrdom. During the Octave of Christmas there are two other feasts that celebrate martyrdom, the feast of the Holy Innocents and the feast of Thomas of Canterbury. Don’t let the scene of Jesus, Mary and Joseph with the shepherds become a cosy scene to distract us from the fact that to embrace Jesus and follow him can lead to suffering, and death. Jesus gives us this warning in the gospel today. “You will be hated by all on account of they name.” Yet like Stephen, we will be given the spirit and courage to speak and act in Christ’s name.