Traditions. There are a lot of them. Some good, some weird, some, well, we will stop at good or weird. Friday, I mentioned advent calendars. Today, it is about children’s programs. I mean, these events you’ve got to love. It’s like the ring bearers and the flower child at weddings. They normally steal the show, and most brides don’t care if they are outshined by cute little four year olds. I remember when my sister-in-law got married, sure she was beautiful, yeah, the groom swaggered in to Peter Gunn … But Calvin stole the show in my opinion (may be a bit biased). His black suit, cowboy hat, and western snake skin boots … even at 4 he was a heartbreaker in the making. And for the time being, he is off the market – so tears are being shed all across the southern states. (Better watch your back TS, there may be some competition out there)
Back to topic. Traditions and kids programs. The joy in the faces. The phones recording for posting on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more. The YouTube clips of a sheep stealing 3 year girl taking baby Jesus (great clip, 4 year old Mary puts the sheep in a headlock). Last night, we did the Incredible Christmas program … and it was, well incredible.
When you think about most of what we do comes from a variety of traditions … not all of them are based in the Biblical narrative. Is that good? Should we avoid adapting norms from other cultures? Most of us know people that refuse to do Christmas trees. Or maybe they avoid Santa because the letters also can spell, he who must not be named.
Traditions. Let me share a few thoughts from my gray matter to get your gray matter clicking.
First, if a tradition goes against scripture, then yes, avoid it. Humbly and gracefully share with the ones who questions you why you avoid such traditions. This is not about being judgmental of others but about being aligned with Scripture.
Second, if it doesn’t contradict scripture, but not necessarily supported by it either, and you feel uncomfortable, then I would also say avoid it … but with humility and grace.
Third, and this is big for me, I look for ways to take every tradition and use it to point to Christ. Jesus attended the Festival of Lights. This is not one of the feasts or festivals in the Old Testament. It is based on Hanukkah and the miracle of the oil at the dedication of the rebuilt Temple. But at that festival, he used it to point to Himself – declaring He is the light of the world. Wow. At a Festival of Lights, Christ takes the opportunity to say there is a real light – Him.
So trees, candles, gifts, mistletoe (can we do this in this PC sensitive world?) … take these and use them to point to Christ.
I don’t know what traditions you practice, but may they show the message of hope, peace, joy, and love found in the Immanuel Himself.