We are a family that’s big on traditions, especially at Christmas time. We go to the same tree farm, watch the same movies, share the same experiences. Now you might just put that down to we being a family that are creatures of habit but it’s so much more than that.
They’re our family traditions and they act as a reminder of who we are, what we stand for and what we value. To us, they’re priceless.
In Joshua 4 when Israel crossed the Jordan River they built a memorial out of 12 rocks, one for each tribe. Why? They were a sign, or reminder, of not only what God had done but the Covenant they’d made to each other. That’s the purpose of traditions, they take us back, they remind us of the bedrock principles we stand on and on what they’re based. Jesus as well instituted a reminder at the Last Supper when he took bread and wine and said to do this in remembrance of him. Perhaps it’s a stretch to compare it to a tradition but the purpose is the same.
Traditions represent critical reminders for our culture. They help form the structure and foundation of our families and our society. They remind us that we are part of a history that defines our past, shapes who we are today and who we are likely to become. Once we ignore the meaning of our traditions, we’re in danger of damaging the underpinning of our identity. That’s why Israel was reminded by God to not forget. That’s why Jesus told us to “do this in remembrance of him” when we take communion.
More importantly, they remind us that there is a God who loves us and will never abandon us (Joshua 1:5).
From a practical point of view, tradition contributes a sense of comfort and belonging. It brings families together and enables people to reconnect with friends. They reinforce values such as freedom, faith, integrity, personal responsibility, a strong work ethic, and the value of being selfless. We find also they provide the chance to showcase the principles of our heritage, celebrate diversity, and promote unity. Finally, traditions serve as an avenue for creating lasting memories for our families and friends giving an excellent context for meaningful pause and reflection.
All this from something that’s so easily dismissed as just nostalgia. Who’d have thought it but God?
During this Christmas season, take the opportunity to embrace your traditions or start a new and unique one with your family. You’d be surprised how impactful they can be to your relationships. From me and my family, I would like to wish you a blessed and Merry Christmas.