The first known association with a baker’s dozen was in the thirteenth century when a law was instituted by King Henry III that produced severe penalties for bakers that would cheat their customers by selling under-weight bread (The Assize of Bread and Ale). The punishment for selling under-weight bread could be as severe as losing a hand to the executioner’s axe!
Bakers fearing the weight of the law would throw in an extra loaf/roll into the sell to ensure that they would not be subject to the King’s wrath.
This law was eventually repealed in 1863, but the tradition continues to live on, by giving over and above what is required.
For me, I want 2013 to represent the baker’s dozen, but not giving because of any requirements of law, but giving out of love. The love of our fellow man should compel us to look beyond ourselves, and give where there is a need, comfort where there is a hurt, and intercede where there is conflict. We should be known as those who love to give extravagantly because we are given so much. God blesses our nation in so many ways. When we move forward with a thankful heart, and a willingness to give out of love, we will see tremendous change.
Money, time, resources, prayer, and talents are just a few of the ways that we can give. I would love to see 2013 become our great nation’s baker’s dozen year, and not for any other reason than to see real hope, and real change. The catalyst does not come from a government or an institution, it comes from a people.