Christmas traditions are special, memorable occurrences that nearly every family have… Christian traditions are even more meaningful…
For some it is a special reading from the Bible, for others its a special celebration of the Lord’s supper or communion. It may be as simple, yet significant as the “Father of the family” reading the Christmas story. Sometimes even a special dish for the dinner table can have Christian traditional value.
For the Bartel family, the giving of a personal “gift to Jesus” before we open our gifts to each other is traditional. A card or sheet of paper is passed to each person. Then a few comments are shared about the profound significance of the Lords wonderful gift of Jesus (and because of Jesus) to us. A time of prayerful reflection follows in which each person thinks about a gift – a personal commitment they’d like to give to Christ in the coming year. Each person writes their commitment on their card or sheet of paper… “To Jesus… then their commitment… followed by “From (and their name). It is placed in an envelope with the words “To Jesus… From…) and then placed under the Christmas tree. Believe me, a pretty significant “tradition” for the LeRoy Bartel family!
But today, in my Bible reading during my time of “coffee with the Lord,” I read of some even more significant and profound “traditions!” They are “traditions” that have powerful value for our Christian lives, they safeguard what we believe and hold dear, they help us contend for and even discern the difference between truth and error…. They’re REALLY important!
“Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you! If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that He made to us – eternal life!” (1 John 2:24-25) “Stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter. (Apostle Paul)” (2 Thessalonians 2:15)
Now, I know there are some who call themselves Christians that have a tendency to dismiss the value of “traditions” … It seems to me that is a terrible mistake. I acknowledge many “traditions” are simply human inventions… But there are others that are vitally important, even instituted by our Lord (like Communion), and others have value because they serve as reminders, safeguards, and practices that keep us true to our faith and fellowship in Christ. Hey, this Christmas season I’m going to seek to dismiss traditions that detract from my faith in Christ, but I’m going to cling to (and sustain) the ones that deepen it!