NEW SERIES: DREAMING OF THE PERFECT CHRISTMAS?
(Click 'previous' at the bottom of the page to start the series.)
I love traditions; the sense of continuity with the past, of being rooted in something more than your own personal space, of being connected with those who have gone before. But the truth is, tradition can be toxic; people have actually given their lives for the sake of tradition rather than truth. And Jesus Himself is testament to the truth that tradition can cause others to become killers. For most of us it is not that dramatic, but we have to wary of the snare; we may not be in physical danger, but our spiritual health and inner peace may be in jeopardy.
Christmas is a recognised time for cherished traditions. But how many people live with discontent and distress because the breaking of a long-held custom has thrown them into crisis? How many live with disproportional stress because family members have different priorities, work patterns interfere with long-held practices, or they can’t get hold of that vital ingredient..?
How many are unable to celebrate, unable to enjoy what they have, because of what is missing?
Jesus warned about putting traditions first:
‘You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God
in order to observe your own traditions! '
And Paul cautioned about judging both ourselves and others regarding the keeping of festivals.
Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink,
or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day.
These are a shadow of the things that were to come;
the reality, however, is found in Christ.
Holding traditions lightly, is key to a rest-filled Christmas, because the truth is, none of it really matters in the light of eternity. The command of God is not 'Thou shall keep Christmas according to all the precepts of the commercial (and religious) market'; but that we should first of all love Him with all our hearts, souls, and minds.
Emmanuel is the reason for the season; God with us. His presence is what changes things, and is worth laying down any tradition for. Better bread and soup in His presence, than a feast with all the trimmings in an atmosphere of discontent. So yes, by all means let’s love our special festive customs, but let’s choose to hold them—and our list of things to do before Christmas—lightly; and seek the one thing we really can't do without: the presence of Jesus.
THIS WEEK’S GRACE RHYTHM
Finish by asking Him to fill your life and home with His presence.
NEXT WEEK: WHAT'S WRONG WITH PERFECT?
Christmas with its commercially-driven, flawless images feeds the ungodly tendency towards perfectionism…
GET IN TOUCH!
[Photo credits: Jonathan Borba (Christmas tree); Greyson Joralemon (manger); Adam Solomon (hello sign)
@ Unsplash, with thanks]
Da Kraplak (type writer);
Merakist (social media)
@ Unsplash, with thanks]
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