Today, the day after Christmas, December 26, the second Day of Christmas, is Boxer Day or, alternatively, Boxing Day. Despite what I thought as a child, the day has nothing to do with the sport of boxing—two men in shorts going at each other while wearing boxing gloves. It was, rather, on that day, according to tradition, that the well-to-do prepared boxes to give to their servants and other lower-class people. The boxes, first and foremost, contained money and sometimes goods to relieve the poverty of the working class.
December 26 is also the feast day of Saint Stephen, the first martyr of Christianity. According to the Acts of the Apostles, he was a deacon in the early church at Jerusalem who angered members of various synagogues by his teachings. At his trial for blasphemy, he denounced the Jewish authorities who were sitting in judgment on him (Acts 7:51–53) and was then stoned to death. Saul of Tarsus, later known as Paul, a Pharisee and Roman citizen who would become a Christian apostle and is known to most of us Saint Paul, participated in Stephen’s martyrdom.
Boxer Day and the other days of the Christmas Season remind me of the rich tradition which I am heir to. My forbears left me a resplendent heritage. My job is to be worthy of the legacy by creating a cultural bequest that will enhance the lives of my descendants.