“TRA-DI-TION, tradition,,, TRADITION” – I’m still singing with gusto after watching a Fiddler on the Roof special on PBS online – not traditional to watch it on a kindle like a personal TV, but what luxury! Broadway on Demand… “If I were a rich man”… I think we are rich in blessings, conveniences and yes, TRADITIONS!!! But in the play storyline, because of his traditions, the father had to try to shun his own daughter for marriage outside their faith, let alone be pained but eventually disregard the arranged marriage traditions for his other daughter… some traditions made life so constraining… some traditions hurt…
Just after the show finished, I listened to Keith Green speaking about a Christmas song that he wrote in tears, having felt the heart and tears of Jesus beating thru him, and how sad he was that the “musak” canned industry of Christmas music in the stores became more about buying influences over knowing the real meaning of Jesus and WHY He came.
(It is interesting to listen to Keith Green’s observation also about us worshipping the Christmas tree over Christ, quoting a warning from Jeremiah 10 (see below))… the point here is don’t lose the meaning of Christmas over traditions we invent. Don’t worship idols, including our ideas for ideals.
Tradition! TRADITION! Isn’t it now SO traditional to give gifts? How true that “hustle and bustle last year after year”, as Michael Card sings, “but this little baby won’t always be here…” it’s true, our windows of opportunity to soften our hearts is fleeting…
Woe to us when we forget to unpack our Spirituality first before the decorations. We need Christmas for Christ’s sake, we need to focus forward and help with a revival of renewal. This has to be demonstrated not dictated. This year, we have to be OK with breaking with some traditional events (ah how stubborn a people we are, ugh) and with full force return to the Lord all that He is due… and place love and peace over idols like the trees and the ornamentation and the purchases, which you know won’t last… We have to place others above our perceived needs, isn’t that what we witness when Jesus came?
And no worries, even if our Christmas is different, we can celebrate Christmas. We can cast off old moments, prepare mentally, rebuilding for future days, and yes dig deeper into our joy too.
I love the moment when I switch from shunning the work of decorating to snapping “into the zone”. At our house we alternate placement of the Christmas tree by the couch (my daughter’s choice) or by the stairs (my son’s choice). She’s away at college, and I have been gifted this time with my son – it is so precious to me – of course he gets star treatment and I know these days at home are not going to last. He directed the tasks after school was done, rearranging furniture, SWEEPING the floor WOW, setting where we will place the tree (it is a stairs year anyway), hanging lights, and oh such joy as we listened to his choice of Christmas music to prepare too (yeah!). I love the tree and the smell and the lights. Love comes in the logistics too for we are creating future memories filled with love. And a reminder, as I later sat in warm glow, that we carve out niches where we are not to be afraid even in trying times…
Ah, yes, don’t worship the traditions but work for and foster the peace. I sat quietly listening to the silent house and being okay with the alone moments this year and sat quietly listening to my heart and loving it. The lights twinkling my eyes and my heart thinking about the blessed moment of peace and security around me. The quiet of the morning now also reminds in gifted moments to ponder Him and His mission over all worldly things. How can we, especially this year, use our unusual circumstances to break traditions that hurt, forgo traditions that distract, and hold onto traditions that help… all while making it hopeful for our children. We are stubborn people and so many want what they want, like they DESERVE Christmas and all the glitz and grandeur. Well, then Christmas wouldn’t be the GIFT, would it? Can we get an Amen?…
Perhaps we best teach our children, this year and always, to delight in the Lord first… “This is what the Lord says: “Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches, but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the Lord. Jeremiah 9:23-24
Be Christmas, Be Christ-centered, Be Blessed.
Jeremiah 10:1-10 God and Idols
Hear what the Lord says to you, people of Israel. This is what the Lord says:
“Do not learn the ways of the nations or be terrified by signs in the heavens, though the nations are terrified by them. For the practices of the peoples are worthless; they cut a tree out of the forest, and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel. They adorn it with silver and gold; they fasten it with hammer and nails so it will not totter. Like a scarecrow in a cucumber field, their idols cannot speak; they must be carried because they cannot walk.
Do not fear them; they can do no harm nor can they do any good.”
No one is like you, Lord; you are great, and your name is mighty in power. Who should not fear you, King of the nations? This is your due. Among all the wise leaders of the nations and in all their kingdoms, there is no one like you.
They are all senseless and foolish; they are taught by worthless wooden idols. Hammered silver is brought from Tarshish and gold from Uphaz. What the craftsman and goldsmith have made is then dressed in blue and purple — all made by skilled workers. But the Lord is the true God; he is the living God, the eternal King.
Tradition – Zero Mostel https://youtu.be/kw2SJxPAp_k
Keith Green intro: https://youtu.be/G_nRDx43m9U
Keith Green Happy Birthday to You (Jesus) https://youtu.be/SIu-11q7Lsc