Traditions can build up or tear down.
My family had a number of traditions. One was at Christmas. Mom either cooked a meal or prepared finger foods. When all were finished eating, we circled chairs among the furniture in the living room, and everyone found a seat. The younger members of the family busied themselves passing out gifts. After the last gift was distributed, someone was selected to begin. They retrieved a gift, told whom it was from, opened it, and showed everyone what it was. Then in either a clockwise or counterclockwise direction, this same action was repeated.
Our family has grown and changed. Some members are no longer with us because of divorce, death, or miles. Though the gathering is smaller, we continue the tradition. For me, this tradition builds up our family. Since it is a slow process, it gives time for stories to be told and memories to be reflected upon—especially when Mom takes five minutes to open a present.
But not all traditions are healthy. Steven was a servant leader in the early church. When arrested for preaching about a resurrected Jesus who he claimed was God’s Messiah, he addressed the high council and gave them a history lesson. What brought down their wrath and resulted in his death was his pronouncement that they were repeating the traditional unbelief of their ancestors. Both had and were resisting God’s Spirit who was pressing them to believe.
Along with the above Christmas tradition, we had other traditions in my immediate home. Dad thought reading the Bible was important. We had family devotions, and I saw him and Mom read their Bibles daily as well. Even down to the boring genealogical tables. My parents also thought praying was a good tradition. We boys were taught to pray before meals and before we went to bed. Talking to God was imperative. And even if Dad had not been a pastor, we would have been made to attend church regularly and often. Any time the doors were open, it was critical for us to be there.
Traditions that draw us closer to God should be passed down to our families; ones that hinder the process should be discarded.
What family traditions are you establishing?
Prayer: Father, guide us to godly traditions we can pass down through the generations.
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