As a culture we have convinced ourselves that in order for Christmas to look like Christmas – we have to do certain things. But there was nothing traditional about the birth of Christ. It was a miracle. While it’s great to do for others, the greatest thing I can do is point people to what was done for each of us through the birth of that child.
- Nicki, blogger at SheSeeks.org (The Seduction of Christmas)Between this, my imperfect wedding photo post, wedding plans, & general attitude, it might sound like tradition is meaningless to me. While I love and honor some traditions, I'm also careful not to let the act hide what it's supposed to stand for. Since changing worship styles and settings a few years ago (I grew up with the Catholic label) I've thought a lot about both the value of traditions and their misuse.
Traditions, used correctly, enhance our lives by reminding us of bigger, more important things.
A gift under a tree is not supposed to be the product of road rage, racked-up credit card debt, and a stressful shopping experience. It is supposed to remind us to have a cheerful, giving attitude in honor of the greatest Gift ever given while brightening up someone else's day.
A Nativity scene is not about beating "CHRIST in CHRISTmas" into non-believers' heads. It is supposed to remind us Christians (because we are the ones who forget!) of the whole point of this holiday; that a Baby was born in a barn to a teen mom, and that that Baby had traded the glory, honor, and power of being almighty God to share His first earthly bed with some camels and sheep.
A Christmas card is not something to sit on your desk un-sent, making you feel guilty. It is about reaching out to people we care about but don't always take time to call, and letting them know that we remember them in this season of joy and giving.
A wedding is not about the expensive flowers, emotional music, bouquet toss, or the caterer. It is about celebrating life and the love between two best friends about to start a family together. It's about vows and the beginning of a Godly covenant.
Communion is not about juice-versus-wine , or symbol-versus-Real-Presence. It's not meant to divide. It is about celebrating Jesus rescuing us from death and misery. It is about His death and resurrection. When we learn to celebrate Communion with that kind of worship mindset, you'd be surprised how quickly you forget about pointing fingers.
May God always help us to celebrate life's big joys with traditions at Christmas and all year long without losing the substance behind each one.