“And when [the shepherds] had seen [the baby],
they made know the statement which had been
wondered at the things which were told them by
the shepherds.” Luke 2:17-18
From generation to generation, from the secular to the sacred, traditions find their way into our families, even our hearts. From pagan Yuletide songs to Advent chants, Christmas music leads the way. Tradition, the Latin tradere, literally means ‘to hand over’ or ‘holding on to a previous time.’ Certainly in centuries past, the traditions of retelling the stories provide insights into history and cultures. Before the written Scriptures, people would keep telling the stories to every generation, remembering all God’s goodness and faithfulness. Today, lighting the Advent candles retell the familiar Christmas story with hope and peace and joy and love. Tradition.
What are your Christmas traditions? Perhaps decorating the Christmas tree with memories, setting up the Nativity, preparing well-loved recipes, lighting the Advent candles, or attending Christmas programs come to mind. Some celebrate on Christmas Eve while some wait until Christmas morning to open presents. My daddy always made ambrosia every Christmas Eve. I never liked to eat it but I do remember the joy he seemed to get from cutting the oranges and mixing the cherries and coconut together. Since 1979, our family has made special Christmas cookies, a favorite tradition!
Traditions can change over time, replaced or revised for another time, a new beginning. While it’s often hard to let go of our most cherished customs, we continue keeping traditions. These special moments build foundations for our future generations. Even if our celebrations look different, we will remember seeing the outside lights flooding the trees, smelling fresh cut Fraser Fir Christmas trees, eating decorated cookies and marinated shrimp, loving Christmas Eve Open House after church, and feeling Christmas morning joy. Over time, we may gather in different places, coming and going as life demands, but we will always unwrap laughter and treasure time together, as we celebrate Christ! A Hallmark quote from the season echoes, “Traditions are the stories that families write together.” We must keep writing those stories because they will remember the joy! dho