Friday, December 5, 2008
1 a: an inherited, established, or customary pattern of thought, action, or behavior (as a religious practice or a social custom) b: a belief or story or a body of beliefs or stories relating to the past that are commonly accepted as historical though not verifiable
2: the handing down of information, beliefs, and customs by word of mouth or by example from one generation to another without written instruction
3: cultural continuity in social attitudes, customs, and institutions
4: characteristic manner, method, or style
My husband was asked an interesting question this week and it has been on my heart. The question was this..."Does God love tradition?"
Makes you think, doesn't it? No other time of the year is as rich with traditions as this one. Christmas trees, nativities, carolling, hot chocolate, family gatherings, stockings filled with goodies, cookies made from recipes generations old and Charlie Brown with his unimpressive Christmas tree. What's not to love, right?
Okay, I realize we are pondering God's love/hate relationship with tradition, but in coming to any semblance of a conclusion we must consider this...Whatever God thinks about tradition, I am confident of this one thing ~ God loves us and we love tradition!
Now I realize some traditions truly can steal God's glory and His Word says He will share His glory with no one, Santa Claus included! We have to be careful that in celebrating our traditions we are not inhibiting the ability of those around us to embrace what it's really all about! But I don't think traditions are inherently bad.
I hope that traditions will remind my kids when they are older that they came from something special. As they decorate their own Christmas trees with ornaments from long ago, I hope they'll share the stories of their origin with their own little ones. When they bake the pumpkin bread and snowball cookies that we've mixed side-by-side each December, I hope they will be comforted by the familiar smells. As they giggle and laugh their way through Elf and Christmas Vacation, I hope they'll remember all those nights snuggled by the fire with pillows, blankets and Daddy's popcorn. I hope mornings filled with lighted candles and shimmering Christmas trees will remind them how Mama used to get up early so those were what they were greeted with as they awoke.
For you see, traditions are the stuff that we are made of. Those bowed heads around the table speak to that! The reading of the Christmas story and the birthday cake for Jesus...the basket of Christmas books and the home-made snowflakes hanging from the ceiling fan over the kitchen table...Santa Mouse and Angel Trees...shoeboxes sent to those without and plates of goodies shared with neighbor friends. Are they rituals mindlessly performed or the result of hearts filled with giddy expectation?
Don't you see it? Traditions can be the very things that prompt our thoughts to focus heavenward for He created families and our traditions are the threads that bind us all together! Our familial fingerprints, if you will, that makes us distinguishable from all the others.
Now some may ponder this question and arrive at a very different conclusion, but as for me and my house...we're going to deck the halls!