Part of the joy of each holiday are the traditions that we get to enjoy only at that holiday season. We hide Easter baskets with chocolate bunnies. We give Valentine’s cards. At Christmas, we decorate the tree a certain way, watch our favorite movies, drive through the light shows, or see the church Christmas play.
Traditions bring comfort, security, and peace.While too much repetition can become boring, special holiday traditions do not fall into that category. There is joy in the anticipation of a familiar and beloved tradition. We can picture the activity in our minds and reflect on positive memories. Instead of the adrenaline of trying something new, we can rest and relax in the familiarity of a tradition.
Traditions bond us as a family through a shared experience. The act of sharing experiences together is very meaningful in relationship building. Each family has unique Christmas traditions, and so does the church family as a whole. There is depth and meaning found in connecting ourselves today with our brothers and sisters throughout time and history, across geography, and beyond the division of nations or denominations.
Traditions benefit from remaining flexible. When we place too much emphasis on a special holiday tradition occurring in exactly the same wayyear after year, we are unrealistic and are setting ourselves up for eventual disappointment. The reality is, each year is different. Someone might be sick. Family members move away, grow older, and mature. Special traditions are most enjoyable when we hold them with an open hand, thankful for the memory of past “perfect” traditions and thankful for the present that God is giving us right here, right now.
What are some of your favorite holiday traditions? How will you set aside time to engage in these shared moments with your loved ones this year?