Traditions! Many times during the Thanksgiving and Christmas season, we celebrate by observing traditions. Traditions are customs that are done every year and become so much a part of the celebration that the celebration would seem empty without the observance of these customary routines. During Thanksgiving this year, I learned of a few yearly traditions that have made it into the Dykema annals of tradition without me even realizing it. Here are a few examples: we have to have hot apple cider on Thanksgiving morning, the Christmas tree cannot be put up and decorated without a glass of egg nog, and sometime during the week-end there must be monkey bread. (We are very food orientedJ)
There is comfort and familiarity and a feeling of home when these traditions are observed. There is joy in knowing what there is to look forward to and comfort in things always being the same.
Many of us have heard the story of the Mom who made ham every year for a particular holiday and before cooking the ham she cut the ends off the ham. One year, her daughter asked her why she cut the ends off the ham. The mom replied, “That’s what my mom always did.” So the little girl asked her grandma why she cut the ends off the ham. To which the Grandma replied, “That’s what my mom always did.” So the little girl asked her great-grandma why she cut the ends off the ham. To which the Great-Grandma replied, “That was the only way I could fit the ham in the pan.” Tradition sometimes carries on without any reason or story as to why it has always been this way.
God in His great wisdom does not want this to be the case for His children. He wants us to be purposeful in what we pass on. He wants us to be intentional. He wants us to communicate.
“One generation shall commend Your works to another and shall declare Your mighty acts.” (Psalm 145:4).
God wants us as parents to be intentional in talking about Him and the awesome things He does. This process happens through both verbal and nonverbal communication. There needs to be consistency between what we say and how we live our lives or our children will be more likely to reject what we say. They must see us living out our faith and communicating with them about it.
The Old Testament heroes did not have the Bible in print form to read. Rather, they passed down the precious words of God and the precious stories of their history verbally. God challenged them in Deuteronomy 6:7 “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk to them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”
Tradition is not just what foods we eat during various holidays. Tradition should include being diligent in talking about God’s great works, His mighty acts, and most importantly who God is!
God encouraged the Israelites to set up stones after they crossed the Jordan River so their children would ask their parents, “What is meaning of these stones?” (Joshua 4:6).
God has done many great things for us. Do we share these things with our children? Do we share with them the things God is teaching us through His Word? Do we get excited over the works of God and His mighty acts and praise His name over these things in the presence of our children?
“One generation shall commend…and declare…to another.” (Psalm 145:4). If Christianity and living Biblical lives is to continue to my grandchildren, I need to be talking about and living out my faith for my children to see. Then they can in turn teach my grandchildren.
Just like the ham, traditions can be passed on without meaning. Let’s be sure that we tell the next generation about God’s wondrous works and then demonstrate them throughout our daily lives.