12-5-2019 – e-News

For the first time in my life, I am spending the Christmas season living somewhere outside of the Northwest. For me, this marks a change in the seasons of life. My family and I are beginning to form our own traditions when it comes to this time of year. Like many of you, we of course keep the tradition of putting up our Christmas tree. With Jane around, the decorating of the tree has changed somewhat in that we have had to place most of the breakable ornaments a little higher on the tree this year.
We love putting the tree up and decorating it because it’s something we can do together as a family. That is the reason behind why we have the tradition. In fact, traditions are formed because somewhere along the way, someone found value in what they were doing and decided to pass the idea on to the next generation. It was something they did that they valued so highly, they wanted others to experience it as well.
For those of us who were raised in the church, our faith is often steeped in tradition. From the type of worship you grew up taking part in, to the clothes you wear on a given Sunday, to the fact that we even go to church to begin with. These types of things were instilled in us by those who raised us – and were likely instilled in them by the generation before. Over time, they became traditions. However, the we often overlook why we have these traditions. Why were they made in the first place? What reason do we have to continue doing them now?
You see, traditions without a valid enough reason behind them quickly become meaningless. My generation, the millennials, grew up going to church and going to youth group because (at least in my experience) many of us were told to by our parents. While this reason was valid while we still were living under our parents’ roof, the second we moved away, the reason held no value. As such, I watched as many of my church-going friends lose their faith as they transitioned into adulthood.
This is why I regularly ask myself the following: Why do you believe what you believe? Why do you hold to the traditions that you hold to? What reason is there behind what you do?
For me, I am reminded of Paul’s words in Colossians 2:8-10: “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ. For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority.”
The traditions we have when it comes to our faith need to be grounded in remembering that which Christ came here to do. When we remember Christ’s sacrifice, we understand the powerful gift he gave. When we remember that gift, we seek to honor Him with our lives. We honor Him by living a life committed to His ways. However we choose to live that out, however we practice it, we desire to pass on to the next generation. And that is why we have traditions – and how we make our own.
So this holiday season, let us not simply go through the routines and traditions that we do year after year without first remembering exactly why we do them. We do them because we love Him. As is so eloquently put in 1 John, “We love because He first loved us.”
Remembering the reason for the season,
Pastor Andrew
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