Today I took part in a family tradition in somewhat of a weird way…by myself. Every year, a few days before Christmas, various members of my family go to Patrick’s, a local feed store that transforms into candy central during the Holiday season. We stock up on old-fashioned candy: fruit slices, chocolate covered everything, coconut dyed different colors. Apparently, other members of my family went earlier in the week without me, so I went today at lunch.
Candy from Patrick’s is one of many Christmas traditions that have been part of my family and church experience for years, traditions like:
- Sausage balls on Christmas morning
- Christmas Eve service for 20 years at Eastridge (5:00 & 6:30 p.m. this Christmas Eve!)
- Waffle House for early supper before the Christmas Eve service
- Breakfast for supper before we started doing Christmas Eve services
- Going to the Pink Pig at Rich’s Downtown when we were kids
…and many other special things that we’ve done (and still do) to celebrate the season. Some traditions have come and gone, and others have had more staying power.
Traditions are comforting, particularly at Christmastime, but we have to be careful not to let the tradition become what we celebrate. They can easily become the institutions, the non-negotiables or our Christmas season. Our traditions are accessories to the real celebration of the birth of Jesus.
May we never forget why we’re celebrating and Who we’re celebrating. As you enjoy your Christmas traditions, take time to ponder that He is the Giver of all good gifts.