Saturday, December 26, 2009

Boxing Day - 12/26/2009

Today's Mental Image:

Gifts for the Servants

Boxing Day

No! It's not a day for boxing up last years Christmas gifts to make way for this year's treasure trove!
On the first weekday after Christmas, the British celebrate the Boxing Day holiday by giving Christmas gifts to servants and service workers.

Some historians say the holiday developed because servants were required to work on Christmas Day, but took the following day off. As servants prepared to leave to visit their families, their employers would present them with gift boxes.

Another theory is that the boxes placed in churches where parishioners deposited coins for the poor were opened and the contents distributed on December 26, which is also the Feast of St. Stephen.

Remember Good King Wenceslas?

Good King Wenceslas looked out
On the feast of Stephen
When the snow lay round about
Deep and crisp and even

Brightly shone the moon that night
Though the frost was cruel
When a poor man came in sight
Gath'ring winter fuel

"Hither, page, and stand by me
If thou know'st it, telling
Yonder peasant, who is he?
Where and what his dwelling?"

"Sire, he lives a good league hence
Underneath the mountain
Right against the forest fence
By Saint Agnes' fountain."

"Bring me flesh and bring me wine
Bring me pine logs hither
Thou and I will see him dine
When we bear him thither."

Page and monarch forth they went
Forth they went together
Through the rude wind's wild lament
And the bitter weather

"Sire, the night is darker now
And the wind blows stronger
Fails my heart, I know not how,
I can go no longer."

"Mark my footsteps, my good page
Tread thou in them boldly
Thou shalt find the winter's rage
Freeze thy blood less coldly."

In his master's steps he trod
Where the snow lay dinted
Heat was in the very sod
Which the Saint had printed

Therefore, Christian men, be sure
Wealth or rank possessing
Ye who now will bless the poor
Shall yourselves find blessing

What Is In Your Box?

The words to the carol "Good King Wenceslas" were written by John Mason Neale and published in 1853, the music originates in Finland 300 years earlier. This Christmas carol is unusual as there is no reference in the lyrics to the nativity. Good King Wenceslas was the king of Bohemia in the 10th century. Good King Wenceslas was a Catholic and was martyred by assassination by his brother Boleslaw and his supporters.  His Saint's Day is September 28th, and he is the Patron Saint of the Czech Republic. St. Stephen's feast day is celebrated on 26th December which is why this song is sung as a Christmas carol. []


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