Tag Archives: tradition

Letting go of tradition

Although gingerbread cookies are a common Christmas tradition, it isn’t one of ours.

Our family has always baked cookies at Christmas, but for some reason gingerbread men wasn’t one of them.

However, we have had a family tradition of gingerbread houses.

These were last year’s and we had a good time making them.

But this year, I have needed to let go of some family traditions.

One of them being the baking of gingerbread houses and then the activity of putting them together on Christmas Day.

Instead, Anne and I baked gingerbread men and she is currently busy making frosting so people can decorate their own.

I only frosted two dozen for putting out with the other cookies.

We will have many things which are different this year, but I’m certain it will still be a lovely holiday.

The Lord reminded me yesterday that it is best to hold tightly to Jesus, rather than traditions.

Then the scribes and Pharisees who were from Jerusalem came to Jesus, saying, “Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.” He answered and said to them, “Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition? For God commanded, saying, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.’ But you say, ‘Whoever says to his father or mother, “Whatever profit you might have received from me is a gift to God”— then he need not honor his father or mother.’ Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition.
Matthew 15:1‭-‬6 NKJV

It is easy to get carried away in trying to follow things as they used to be or to uphold the expectations of others and ourselves.

But if our traditions are encroaching upon our joy at the birth of our Savior the tradition needs to change.

Because it’s our hearts that truly matter, not what foods we eat nor what gifts we give or even how fancy our decorations.

If we manage to fulfill every obligation and check off all on our lists, but fail to worship the One whose birth we are celebrating, then we’ve sadly missed the point.

Christmas is about Christ Jesus.

May we each set aside whatever is needed so we can truly worship the King of kings whose birth we remember on December 25.

I’m thankful to God that He has altered some of our traditions and I’m praying we can remain focused upon Him.

I pray the same for you and your family.

May God bless and keep you dear reader.

Merry Christmas!

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for Your birth and the opportunity we have to celebrate it. Lord Jesus, thank You for reminding me of the importance of You in the midst of all our preparations. Lord, please help us to remain focused upon You during the family, food, and fun. Lord, please bless those who are struggling, the hurting, the sick, the needy, and especially those who mourn. For although Your birth was an incredible gift and reason to rejoice not everyone was glad and that led to great loss. May we never forget those among us who are suffering. Thank You that You love each and every one of us. Thank You for Your salvation, Jesus. Happy birthday! Amen.

Once upon a summer

Many things we have as traditions in our family have grown from a single circumstance.

Years ago, when we only had one very small girl, my mom and I went to the coast.

We wanted to visit a garden that originally was private property, but now belongs to the state.

As well as do a little shopping.

The garden has it’s own private beach and is a beautiful place to visit.

After that time, I tried to take the kids to the same place every summer.

Sometimes, my Mom would go too.

Sometimes, my husband would.

A few years some of our close friends (we call them our UK family) went with us.

The first year Tim joined the family, he came with us.

Of course there were a few years we missed our annual trip.

Last year was one of those.

Since our move, I’ve been wondering what God would have me do about our summer day trip.

We could travel down there, but the time would be much less at the garden and much more on driving.

So, taking into account many current factors, I’ve simply prayed and let go of my expectations.

The last two years we’ve added a New Year’s tradition to our family.

We head for the Aquarium and stay in a hotel on the beach with an indoor swimming pool.

We always eat at my favorite seafood restaurant.

It’s a trip we talk about all year.

Honestly, I thought we would simply trade one tradition for another.

But God answered me differently.

After church Sis looked at me and asked, “Do you guys want to come with us? We are going to the beach.”

I was so surprised.

I prayed and felt this was the answer to my prayers, at least for this summer.

We packed our sun screen and towels.

Made sandwiches and fruit salad.

It was such a blessing.

Our granddaughter learned how to dig in the sand with a spoon.

Anne, Jase, and Tim all played in the surf.

They built a sand castle.

It was all lovely.

I’m so thankful for the opportunity to go to the beach.

But I’m holding it lightly.

I know that sometimes we will continue to follow our family traditions and other times we won’t.

Every year is different and that is how it should be.

I love it when we get to do some of our favorite things, but I’m alright with letting them go.

Because God’s plans are best and when one door shuts, He always leads me to another which is open.

And the journey from one to another is really precious.

It’s where I learn how to let Him lead.

Stubborn refusal to relinquish my past to Him is waiting at a closed door trying to force it open on my own.

It never works.

So, I’d rather walk with my hand in His, and enjoy the journey.

It’s a two fold blessing.

I get to bring my memories along while experiencing healthy change.

Most importantly, I learn how to walk with Jesus.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for past traditions and new memories. Thank You that You are doing something new today. Although it is not easy to let go of expectation, please continue to help me surrender all my wants and desires into Your perfect will. I know Your ways are far better. They are life eternal. Thank You for saving my soul. Lord, as I step forward into today, I’m reaching up my hand. Please take it and lead me. Thank You. Amen.

A new old tradition

Many years ago, my husband’s brother was home on leave from the Air Force.

I remember he looked a bit nervous.

He said something about my rules on candy. (He knew I often state candy is terrible for kids’ teeth.)

Then showed me the box.

He had purchased a premade gingerbread house to put together with the kids.

Of course I said it was fine.

And the tradition began.

I’ve enjoyed watching our children put together a gingerbread house each Christmas.

As the holiday drew closer our oldest girl began discussing the tradition.

“Should we buy one, Mom?”

The pros and cons were sorted through.

I just didn’t have peace at that time to buy one.

So, the Saturday before Christmas Anne and Sis spent the day making gingerbread from scratch.

I was thrilled to babysit and to see the sisters enjoy learning something new.

When it was all finished they realized they had made four houses.

And a new tradition was born.

On Christmas Day, after gifts and the meal, we got into teams and each crafted a gingerbread house.

Jase and I were partners and I enjoyed it more than I had expected to.

I had never put together a gingerbread house before.

The girls had done a really great job and the pieces all fit together easily.

Jase and I had fun gluing candies and cookies on with frosting.

As I reflect upon our new old tradition, I am reminded of God’s Word.

Matthew 7:24 NKJV — “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock:”

Our lives are like a strong, well built house when we follow Jesus with our whole heart.

The details of each, being completely under the guidance of the Lord.

And the sweetest part, is it’s a building project which lasts our entire lives.

I hope we build other gingerbread houses in the future.

If we do I plan on reading this verse first.