So today is Boxing Day, a day that few know about, but is huge in Britain where is is also known as St Stephen’s Day (as it is in Catholic circles).
The origins of Boxing Day are dubious, ranging from some saying that the lower classes would bring a box to their employers who would in turn deposit coins in them for their employees (perhaps the first Christmas bonus?) to a day when the servants in a household would change places with the heads of the household and be waited on for a day. The idea behind the latter was so that the employers would appreciate all the hard work done by those that served them throughout the year.
The version I like best though is that often people would bring gifts for the poor to churches who would deposit them in poor boxes and then the clergy would distribute them to the poor. A tradition, not tied to December 26th in most churches today but also available all year round.
I remember first hearing about Boxing Day as a kid when I was watching an episode of M*A*SH* where the enlisted and officers changed places for the day. I can’t seem to find clips of that episode but Alan Alda is a Fordham graduate and I always recall that at the sign of peace at Fordham masses when I was a Freshman, they would intone this song: Dona, Nobis, Pacem….grant us peace.
So instead of actually boxing with those you might like to kill during the holiday season…perhaps praying for peace is called for: