A lot of the things we have talked about over the last three weeks could be tied back to traditions, the Christmas trees, the wreaths, and the candy canes. But I did feel it could take a topic all on it’s own. Christmas time is the one time of the year that we all tend to look to our traditions.
I can remember traditions when I was a girl. Staying up late on Christmas Eve, only to get up so incredibly early on Christmas Day. I can remember times we sat up in the bed, me and all 3 of my sisters and giggled. Well I probably did most of the giggling as I was the youngest. My mom and dad and my 3 older sisters sure were troopers to this Christmas loving girl who wanted to stay up late and get up early tradition for as long as I could. I BELIEVE IN SANTA!
I remember, we had an artificial tree that had a bout 999 pieces and parts to it or so it seemed. I can remember putting that thing together and spreading lights across the living room floor to be sure we didn’t have to replace any bulbs before we put them on the tree. I can also remember looking at Christmas lights with the family. We would pile up in our car and drive the neighborhoods and look at all the pretty lights and we would bake cookies every year during the Christmas season.
And then after we had stayed up really late and gotten up incredibly early on Christmas Day we would jump in the car to make the 3 hour drive to Arkansas to be with grandparents and cousins. It seems like it was such a magical time for us.
Then there were the traditions I wanted to instill in my own children. They included decorating the tree, baking the cookies and driving around looking at the lights. We always tried to incorporate a Church Christmas program that we were either involved in or at least attended. We had to get a Santa picture every year of course and then my children were the ones wanting to stay up late and rise really early and we made the trek to our parents houses at Christmas time.
And now my children come to me and I am trying to instill some traditions that hopefully my children and grandchildren will be able to look at fondly over the years. I try to always bake cookies with my grandchildren when they come and we have the lights on our own home that I hope will mean something years from now to my grandchildren just like the plastic Santa that my grandfather tied to their front porch meant to me.
I love the Christmas season and the traditions that come along with it. I think that tradition is a very important thing for us to give thought to the reasons we are celebrating and remember. I also think that scripture shows us how traditions are important to God. There were many feasts that came about in scripture that people practiced regularly. In fact…
“Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom.” Luke 2:41-42
We see it here that Jesus’ earthly parents were accustomed to the tradition of traveling to Jerusalem for the Passover Feast every year. God set apart these feasts for them to remember. As we go about our traditions, which are fun and festive, sometimes work and tiring even, let’s not lose sight of our reason for them is to remember. Just like God set apart feasts for the Jewish people to remember the passover. Christmas is a time to set apart and incorporate all the festivities to remember. Remember the baby that was born in the manger that first Christmas morning. Remember why He came. Remember why He lived. Remember why He died, for you and for me. Yes, have your traditions, decorate with red and green or whatever other color you want to. Have Santa, or Papa Noel or whatever you want to call Him bring gifts. Gather with friends and with family, but in all of your traditions, remember the baby. Be sure you slow down just a bit this week and remember. Maybe even walk outside and look up at the stars and remember shepherds in a field who got the most glorious birth announcement of all time. Remember, a young mother who gave birth in a dirty, dark, smelly stable then wrapped her child in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger for Him to sleep. Remember wise men who spent probably months, and maybe years following a star in search of the baby King. Traditions are nice and they are fun, but let’s let them do what they are meant to do. To point us to the important things to remember.