Boxing Day is still celebrated in England. It is the day after Christmas (St. Stephen’s Day), when servants and tradesmen traditionally receive gifts known as a “Christmas box” from their masters and employers. As far back as 1668, Samuel Pepys complained in his diary: “Called up by drums & trumpets; these things & boxes having cost me much money this Christmas.”
To ye Gentlemen and Ladies:
The day after Christmas is not one to celebrate
Unless, one is a tradesman or a servant
Who waits patiently at the back gate
Listening politely to the laughter
Inside his or her benefactor’s stately home
Stamping well-worn shoes
Rubbing white cheeks and wiping a red nose
While the snow blows about
Earnestly, hat in hand or head bowed, waiting for a box
And ready to reply,
If I may, I am, dear sir or madam, with zeal most fervent,
Your much indebted, humble servant.
“Nay,” Robert Burns would say,
A gentleman or gentle lady is not a poor man’s friend
Who waits until the end of the year
To give one a box
On St. Stephen’s Day
Feed a man with work
Treat a lady with dignity
And warm a heart with kindness
Every day and not just once.
New Year is always a time of hope – things will be a little better and if not better no worse. Before we jump into 2016, let’s see where we been in 2015.
1. ISIS struck terror world-wide, setting off attacks in Europe, North America, and the Middle East just to name a few. Where did these guys come from? What happened to Al-Qaeda and who are ISIL and Daesch. Are we playing whack-a-mole?
2. As a result of the conflict in Syria and Afghanistan and Yemen, more than a million refugees streamed into Europe.
3. The United States and Cuba restored diplomatic relations. That is a good thing.
4. The United States and Iran struck a nuclear deal. That could be a good thing.
5. Greece goes bust triggering the Great Greek Depression. That’s bad if you’re Greek.
6. The Trans-Pacific Partnership is created which affects 40% of the world trade. The stock value of Marshall’s and Ross dress for less goes up, but otherwise nobody notices.
7. Russia flexes its muscles in Syria and continues its foray into the Ukraine after already having annexed the Crimea and gets away with it.
8. The world (196 people pretending to represent 7 billion people) strikes a deal on climate change or acts like it has since there are no enforcement mechanisms and they agree to allow the climate to heat up. That’s not a good thing.
9. China builds islands in the South Pacific. That is a sleeper but it could be a very big deal.
This past year was good to us the one before just a little rough
The one before that was an awful thing what will the new year bring
Will it bring us a little boy to fill our lives with love and joy
We’ve had our share of growing pains what will the new year bring
You’re still one and one makes two now one and one make one
I hope you will love me throughout the year to come
We’ve made our mistakes with love we learned that it can’t promise us
Tomorrow and forever things what will the new year bring
Wish I hadn’t read our horoscope things look stormy for Scorpios
Virgo’s posed to sprout their wings what will the new year bring
Will you want me to love you the way you know I do
And will you walk through life with me another year or two
Or three or four or five or six hundred years or more
Happy New Year darling for whatever is in store
2. Let’s see, if I start at midnight in Maine, spend no more than one hour and go west, it will still be midnight in the Midwest. Repeat three times and I can have the America filled with gifts and joy in an hour.
3. Donald Trump said what?
4. One is the loneliest number.
5. Give peace a chance, please.
6. God’s gift, an infant child.
7. Never quit believing that a few caring people can’t change the world.
Matthew 26:15, King James Version And [Judas] said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver.
Thirty Pieces of Silver
I think most of us have, at one time or another, wondered what the thirty pieces of silver paid Judas Iscariot look like.
They were worth a month’s wages for a common laborer.
The denarius was a small silver coin whose weight varied, but was approximately 1/48th of a pound. It was a day’s wages to a common laborer or a soldier. “He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard.” Matthew 20, 2.
The daily staple of a Roman was a loaf of bread of two. Romans would buy their bread in a unit called a “modius.” A modius would bake up into roughly 20 one pound loaves of bread so it would provide the needed bread for ten days. A “just price” for a modius of bread started out at 4 asses, but with inflation and debasement of the denarius, it rose to 12 asses, and by Nero’s time to 2 denarii, 32 asses.
Add this thought from Revelations in figuring the value of a denarius.
‘A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not harm the oil and the wine'” (Revelation 6:6).
What is said is a common marketplace call of a merchant shouting out the price of his wares. He is setting inflationary values for both wheat and barley with the admonition that oil and wine will be more dear.
[ Under the rule of Augustus, (63 BC-AD 14) the silver content of a denarius fell to 3.9 grams 1⁄84 of a Roman pound.]
If you love fir, choose Balsam or Noble, Douglas or Fraser;
Or try Virginia, or Scotch or White for a pine;
Choose a spruce if you hanker for Norway or Colorado;
But if you want a true Kansas tree, take mine –
The Eastern Red Cedar, the noblest and grandest of all.
Sitting around the Christmas tree on Christmas Day, each of us shared favorite a Christmas. Along with stories of gifts and people, were descriptions of trees and the decorations we once made.
Those old enough recalled strings of cranberry and popcorn that graced the boughs of evergreen. Instead of store bought ornaments, the children would gather round the kitchen table and make ornaments of tin foil in all sorts of shapes. If your family was Swedish, then the ornaments were fashioned with straw and corn husks. If your family lived on the prairie, with not much to be had, at least ma and pa could always find nuts to place in a paper bag with chocolates of filled cream. And always on top of the tree was a star, that the littlest one placed with a hoist from dad.
Every family has its own Christmas tradition and they do not seem to change much. Take the story by Julia (Conine) Bunton who was born in Iowa in 1862 and came to Barber County in the 1870’s where she married Clark Bunton. Their marriage was the first recorded in Kiowa.
She recalled, Kiowa’s first real Christmas, celebrated with an Eastern Red Cedar tree in the Kiowa community center, an event to which cowboys rode miles to attend:
“Some one brought in [the community center] a huge cedar tree, set it on the floor and nailed the top to the ceiling. A nice big star was made out of heavy paper and covered with tin foil of tobacco and placed high on the tree with one lone candle. As there was nothing more with which to trim the tree, Kiowans hung presents on its branches–brightly colored silk handkerchiefs, shiny knives and candy. They certainly made a fine showing.”