TRADITIONS! WHAT GOOD ARE THEY?
Updated: May 10
Tradition is often traded for new and innovative in this culture. However, the result can become chaotic and fragmented. Family traditions yield several good results if they are done with true heart and passion. Tradition gives us something to look forward to. People often share with each other, “We always open a gift on Christmas Eve” or “We always go to midnight candlelight service.” The tone of voice used is usually joyful and proud.
That is because of the second reason. Tradition gives a feeling of family unity. The Sterretts do this together because we are the Sterretts. Traditions are usually acted out in groups yielding a feeling of belonging to something bigger than myself.
Traditions also give a sense of stability. Humans like to know what to expect. Doing certain things in certain ways at regular times produces that in all of us but especially in children.
I was shockingly struck by the impact of traditions through the response of my youngest son to the advent wreath. Our oldest son had grown and left home and our youngest was sixteen. I was decorating for Christmas and thought to myself, “I won’t put out the advent wreath, he’s probably grown out of that and will think it is childish. BUT much to my surprise my nearly grown son immediately noticed the wreath’s absence and let me know in no uncertain terms that “We always do advent, Mom, where’s the wreath?” So I hurriedly set it up and week by week we acknowledged together the different aspects of Jesus and His coming to earth.
Having learned my lesson I now do advent with my grandchildren who squeal with glee when they see the wreath set up and ready, even though they are now teens.
My DIY advent project looks like this.
1. I hot glued the bottoms of 4 clear glass vases to the bottoms of 4 clear glass votive candle cups and glued pretty beads around the connecting seams.
2. Each vase was filled with various colored metallic raffia and set upside down so tea candles could sit inside the votive cups. The colors I used were red, green, silver and gold. The white Jesus candle had its own unique stand.
3. The candles were nestled on a bed of straw looking raffia around an evergreen wreath in their center with the white candle in the center of the evergreen. A few scattered pine cones completed it.
4. 5 pieces of my nativity were set beside the wreath. They are 1) a sheep 2) a shepherd 3) Mary 4) a King 5) Baby Jesus. These are placed into the nativity along with their corresponding candle being lit.
5. I used 5 “P” words so the children could easily remember the 5 qualities of Jesus.
1) Red candle = Priest, also the Lamb
- red = the blood sacrifice
Nativity piece = The Lamb
2) Green candle= Pastor – the Good Shepherd of the sheep
- green = grass provision
Nativity piece = The Shepherd
3) Silver candle = Person – He became Human
- silver = precious, valuable
Nativity piece = Mary – the one who made Jesus human
4) Gold candle = Potentate – He is a King of Kings
- gold = reminds us of His Kingdom in Heaven
Nativity piece = a King
5) White candle (Christmas Day) = The PRESENT from God whose PRESENCE is with us
- white = He is Holy, The Perfect Present
Nativity piece = Baby Jesus
6. I looked up several scriptures for each word which are read before lighting the candle. We start right after Thanksgiving time each week and end on Christmas Day when we sing Happy Birthday to Jesus.
You don’t have to do Advent or do it my way. I just hope I got your creative juices flowing. Don’t miss the joy and stability of traditions in your family.