Christmastime is often a time of traditions. Every family has their own special tradition or traditions, whether it is a specific day, time, or way to decorate the house or Christmas tree, to baking cookies or other holiday treats, or activities and events that are attended every year. In my family, we always went into downtown Chicago right near Christmas to shop, look at lights and other sights, and go to a show and a nice meal. Still to this day, when I come home to IL after Christmas, we go into the city for a day, keeping that particular tradition alive.
Traditions are important things because they become touchstones in people’s lives and often they connect us to not only our present, but our past, and often will continue into the future. For me, going downtown started with my grandparents and then continued with my parents and even though they are all gone now, when my sisters and I go into Chicago, I can feel and remember the years prior with those who are no longer with us. We continue traditions to remember others, connect with each other, and pass on a part of who we are to the next generation when they experience the tradition for the first time.
Of course, the church is a place steeped in tradition. From singing “Silent Night” in candlelight to certain activities and events, the church lives in tradition that connects us with the saints that have gone before us. One of those traditions continues this week (and, actually, in an hour or so from me writing this) with lefse making. Not being Norwegian, over my 12 years here at Trinity I have really enjoyed this tradition, and it is not just for the taste of the lefse! I enjoy the fellowship of it, of seeing men and women (and sometimes children) together, teaching each other, conversing with each other, serving the Lord together. The laughter that comes, the friendships that are made, the love that is shared, is what really makes these two days fun and special. Even better, the group loves nothing more to welcome a new person in and become part of this Trinity tradition.
Of course, this week is full of other traditions as well, with the Silent Auction on Saturday, the Live Nativity late Saturday afternoon, and all the other activities in town this weekend. I hope you will stop in and support our youth, buy some wonderful lefse and baked goods, and come by the Live Nativity to remember the true meaning of this season.
But most of all, I hope that you give thanks for your Christmas traditions and recognize that the Lord has blessed those traditions that connect us as family, friends, and children of God. Never take them for granted and at the same time, never be afraid to start a new tradition either! I got an idea for a new one: give the pastor bacon for Christmas!
May God bless you this day and always!