Happy Boxing Day?

How a Less-Known Holiday Relates to Missional Enterprise

We hope that you all had a very Merry Christmas and are enjoying a very happy Boxing Day celebration today!

Boxing Day?

It’s unlikely that many of us are actually celebrating Boxing Day and even those who have heard of the holiday, traditionally celebrated on December 26th,1 are unlikely to know its origin or significance. However, the history of this less-known holiday is full of rich meaning for all followers of Jesus, and especially for those who want the businesses they lead to bless their communities.

Historians trace the origins of Boxing Day to England in the 1600s, but the roots of the celebration go back to the early church. Early Christians, remembering Stephen, the first martyr for Christ, set aside December 26th as a feast in his honor. As Stephen was one of the first Christians given an official role of serving the needy, the Feast of St. Stephen came to be recognized as a time to do good to those who were less fortunate. The old Christmas Carol, Good King Wenceslas, describes this ruler in the 10th century AD going out on “the feast of Stephen” to give aid when “a poor man came in sight.”2

A Celebration of Personal and Corporate Benevolence

The use of the term “Boxing Day” began in the 1600s-1700s, possibly in connection to two traditions of generosity.3 First, many churches collected donations for the poor in boxes during Advent, which would be distributed to the needy on the day after Christmas. Second, many wealthy employers prepared boxes containing money, gifts, and leftover food for their servants to take home on the 26th after serving their employers on Christmas Day.

Thus, from the earliest days of its celebration, Boxing Day has been a time for those with the means to care for the needy in their midst, and in more recent times has focused especially on the role of employers in blessing their employees and the rest of their local community. This commemoration, therefore, aligns well with the community transformation imperative of the triple bottom line that missional enterprise leaders aspire to achieve.4

In the spirit of Boxing Day, let’s renew our commitment to bless employees by treating them with justice and generosity. Let’s also grow in blessing our communities through various acts of effective corporate benevolence.

Happy Boxing Day!

Verse of the Week:

Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. Galatians 6:10 (NIV)


As those entrusted with the unique sphere of opportunity to do good through the enterprises we lead, may God bless many through us.

1 https://www.britannica.com/topic/Boxing-Day
2 https://hymnary.org/text/good_king_wenceslas_looked_out
3 https://www.nationalgeographic.com/history/article/boxing-day-history-traditions
4 See m3weekly.substack.com/p/building-triple-bottom-line-enterprises

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