The Second Day of Christmas

On this day, December 26, my true love is supposed to bring me two turtle doves, which doesn’t make a lot of sense to me other than the moment in Home Alone 2 when Mr. Duncan from Duncan’s Toy Chest gives a two-turtle-dove ornament to Kevin McCallister. So what really happens on the 2nd Day of Christmas in the old school, liturgical, church calendar? Well, in a lot of the world (especially those countries with ties to the Commonwealth of Great Britain, like Canada), this day is known as Boxing Day––which seems rather appropriate because of all the boxes I need to dispose of after Christmas day (though the true Boxing Day tradition extends back to the early 19th century when certain members of society expected to receive a “Christmas box”). [Speaking of Canada, my favorite recording of the 12 Days of Christmas song was done by The Canadian Brass (#NerdAlert, I know… but go ahead and Google it).] But, before there was a Boxing Day, or the cute song that mentions two turtle doves, the 2nd Day of Christmas commemorates Saint Stephen’s Day (which gets a good mention in that other Christmas song… “Good King Wenceslas looked out, on the Feast of Stephen”). St. Stephen is honored as the first Christian martyr (you can read his story quickly in chapters 6-7 of the New Testament book of Acts), and his feast day of December 26 is all about serving and giving gifts to the poor. Which seems rather fitting since Jesus, whose birth we celebrate at Christmas, brought great attention to the poor and marginalized all around him throughout his life, and went so far as to challenge his followers to do the same. Thus, the gifts we have been given, the blessings we have received, are all for a purpose. We have been #BlessedToBeABlessing… to others.