Sunday, May 2, 2010

Tried & True Tradition

What are the traditions you hold the most dear? What are some that your family holds that is unique to your family alone? I bless our children each Sabbath as I'm tucking the kids into's something the kids (and I) really look forward to each week. We also have a couple of songs we usually sing to bring in the Sabbath and we always have a special private Bible study time each Sabbath morning. For our friday night sabbath meal we always try to have a nice dinner, complete with table decorations and candles to make the evening special. For holidays, we decorate the house as much as we can according to the holiday and we try to share those times with others (since we celebrate different holidays than most people we know, this doesn't always happen easily). Some more "secular" things we do are celebrating the lives of our children with a traditional birthday party with friends and family, cake and ice cream, etc. We also have a tradition of going camping over the 4th of July weekend whenever possible (sometimes a challenge because of my husband's shift work)'s a great family time and we have fun celebrating the independence of our nation with sparklers (if they're allowed depending on fire restrictions!)

A Bible study group that I meet with was discussion the benefits and drawbacks of traditions. They can be a blessing or a curse.

Traditions can bring great blessings by generating a feeling or atmosphere of joy or celebration with familiar sights and sounds. Did you know that human's sense of smell is the best way to recall a memory? Baking bread for a special weekly meal is certain to bring warm memories of that time together as a family once a child has moved out of the house whenever the child smells bread. They can also be a wonderful teaching tool to pass on knowledge and understanding to our children...we can explain where the tradition came from and what that stands to teach us in our daily lives. Traditions can draw us closer together and give us that sense of familiarity...making us feel "home."

Traditions can also be a stumbling block. In some families, they no longer celebrate holidays because of the holiday, but because of the traditions. Many atheists still celebrate Christmas even though it's a "Christian" holiday, for instance, by just getting together and opening gifts. They aren't interested in the least about the story of Christmas, but they still get together on that day to get and give gifts. The family time created by this is still a blessing to them, but they've lost a the reason the tradition was created in the first place. Many children go lifetimes feeling unloved by their parents, but their parents still give them a birthday party each year to give them gifts. It's a trap that is so easy to fall into. Simply going through the motions allows us to forget the reason we're doing the tradition in the first place. And for believers, it is easy to fall into the trap of rejecting the commandments of God, that we may keep our own traditions (Mark 7:8).

If we ask ourselves why we're doing what we're doing, that may give us a clearer picture of where our hearts lie in the matter. Am I keeping a tradition to please myself or to please those around me? Because it's fun? Am I keeping traditions because society does? Am I teaching my children Biblical truth and values through the tradition or is the tradition taking away from Biblical truth? Am I keeping a tradition because it's helping me to keep God's commands? I think the best policy is to examine ourselves and search our hearts.

No comments:

Post a Comment