Today is called the "Second Day of Christmas"--a traditional German holiday. It always falls on December 26th. In the British Isles today is called "Boxing Day" since people go from house to house with their gifts to give.
Today is also called "St. Stephen's Day." Stephen was one of the early disciples of Jesus who joined the early Christian church in Jerusalem during its infancy. He was the first Christian martyr and was convicted of blasphemy against Moses and God, as well as for speaking against the Temple and Law. Stephen was stoned to death shortly after Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection (around A.D. 34--36).
Some people attend a special church service on St. Stephen's Day. For others, the Second Day of Christmas is an opportunity to:
Spend time with family and friends. (Yes!)
Enjoy MORE seasonal treats. (No more sugar for me...)
Watch TV. (Maybe one new DVD...)
Play board games. (Better yet, Bananagrams!)
Spend some time outdoors. (Need those ear muffins today!)
December 26th is a quiet day to recover from the Christmas celebrations and prepare for the winter sales. (For me it's also a day to download photos from the past week and share them with family and friends, clean the kitchen, and re-read Christmas cards and letters.)
In Germany, from where our ancestors came, some friends and families prepare a communal meal that may be cooked at the table, such as pancakes, fondue, or meat and cheese cooked on a small grill or hot stone. Others eat the remains of the large meals served on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Many families spend the day with grandparents or godparents. Children may find that Father Christmas, Santa Claus or the Christ Child left them presents at their relatives' homes. Such FUN!
Today is also called "The Feast of St. Stephen." "Good King Wenceslas" is a popular Christmas carol about a king who goes out to give alms to a poor peasant on the Feast of Stephen. During the journey, his page is about to give up the struggle against the cold weather, but is enabled to continue by the heat miraculously emanating from the king's footprints in the snow. The legend is based on the life of the historical Saint Wenceslaus I, Duke of Bohemia (907–935), known in the Czech language as Svatý Václav. The lyrics are by English hymnwriter John Mason Neale, and the tune is Scandinavian, from Piae Cantiones.
Until the 1400s, the period around Christmas and the New Year was a long celebration. This period included aspects of the Christian feast days marked in modern German and pre-Christian rituals. The Second Day of Christmas, New Year's Eve, New Year's Day, and Epiphany are the remains of this long festival.
Happy Second Day of Christmas!
BTW, I added a few new photos of our family taken on Christmas Day to the previous post's slideshow. Enjoy!
Happy birthday, dear Jesus! Let's always keep Christmas focused on why God sent Jesus to be born--because we needed Him as our Savior.
We call the day after our birthdays "pinching day." We could say that we can pinch ourselves in grateful thanksgiving that God sent His Son to earth to be our Savior and King!
Glory to God in the highest!