Every Christmas, after the presents have been opened and the dishes from Christmas dinner have been cleaned up and put away, my mom gets out the jar. The jar is full of bundles of pieces of paper. Each bundle has a date on it, a year. These are the “Borders Family Predictions”.
It is an annual tradition in our family as we head into another year to read the “predictions” that we wrote the previous year. Each piece of paper has a list of things that each of us think will have happened sometime during that year. The lists do not have names on them. Part of the fun is guessing whose list of predictions my dad is reading. There is always much laughter! Every year my sister predicts that she will have a new kitchen – it’ll be on her list again this year. My dad and his sons-in-law have competing predictions about political happenings. And all the grandkids predict who will have gotten their braces off, who is going to what college and, shockingly, we are beginning to predict wedding engagements. Yikes!
Why does my family look forward to this each year? And why are there a myriad of other traditions that families, and our culture on the whole, participate in season after season, especially during the Christmas holidays? Check out the following list of Christmas traditions from www.whychristmas.com :
- Christmas Bells
- Candy Canes
- Mince Pies
- Christmas pudding
- Christmas Cards
- The Yule Log
- Christmas Trees
- The Holly and the Ivy
- Boxing Day
- The Christmas Pickle
This is only 16 of the 33 listed on this one website! And please tell me . . . what in the world is a Christmas Pickle?
Why Do Traditions Matter?
You may not practice any of the traditions above in your family, but it is my guess that somewhere in your world you have experienced the joy and significance of ceremony, ritual or tradition. And most of us have experienced the yearning for these practices to endure, to remain, to never change. Why? Why do traditions matter? Noel Piper says, “Family ceremonies and rituals can help you show your children what – and Who – is most important to you.” When we participate in family traditions there tends to be a bonding type of experience, a feeling that we belong. We are enjoying something together and it makes us feel connected – like family. As Christians, we have been adopted into God’s family. The inheritance that we gain as His children offers us a powerful and enduring sense of belonging. Romans 8:15-17 says “You have received the spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba Father!’ The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs – heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ.”
Pointing Us to Something Bigger
Traditions in and of themselves are fun and offer great enjoyment. But the purpose they serve in pointing us to something bigger, that sense of belonging, is an important perspective as we head into the holiday season. Placing emphasis on “why” we are doing the things we do during this busy time of year may be a wonderful opportunity for us to show our children what and Who is most important to us. What better time to focus on belonging to the family of God than during the season of celebrating the birth of the Christ Child, the very one who came so that we could be adopted into His family?
As you decorate your tree, sing Christmas carols, bake Christmas cookies and wrap presents , be reminded, and remind others, that these traditions are in honor of celebrating the most treasured gift we can receive – Jesus Christ and the belonging that comes from knowing Him and being His child.
This post was written by Julie Rice, LCS Director of Enrollment. If you are interested in LCS, please feel free to contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Image courtesy of Mister GC / FreeDigitalPhotos.net