Who Moved Our Christmas Traditions?

by Sally Matheny

Who Moved Our Christmas Traditions?
(Photo by Pixabay)
The calendar is set. You’ve penned in all the festivities and family gatherings. No need for a pencil when it’s the same every year, right?

Then one day you gasp in horror. Someone has violated the calendar slashing it with red marks, arrows, and scribbles.

Who would dare infringe upon the long-established Cousin Cookie Swap, which ALWAYS takes place on the second Thursday of December?

And if that wasn’t enough to fuzz your wet, candy cane, your jaw drops when you see tampering with Dec. 24!

You yell, “Who moved our Christmas traditions?”

Before you react like Wassail on a high flame, let’s ponder for a moment.

I love traditions, too. Especially, at Christmas. We get together with relatives on the same dates every year. But my favorite gathering is when we meet at our barn on Christmas Eve night.

There’s something about the smell of the hay, the glow of a lantern, and hearing the sounds of the animals as we gather around a rustic manger and read the Christmas story. It helps keep our focus on Christ.

Traditions bring people together. They engrave fond memories and cement certain emotions deep within us.

So it’s difficult for many of us when something, or someone, disrupts the customs we’ve grown to treasure.

However, we need to pause, and if possible, utter a silent prayer before we respond to the perpetrators.

What is causing the conflict?

Is it financial hardship, travel difficulties, or health issues? Or is the desire to continue the activity simply fading?

Be open-minded. Perhaps it’s time for a change.

Swap the cookie event for serving together at a soup kitchen or some other activity.

If distances, or even health, are the issues, consider scheduling a teleconference such as Skype or FaceTime.

Maybe create a new tradition or at a different time of the year. If possible, plan some of those parties with friends and co-workers in November or January.

Would a cozy, potluck supper be more feasible than the traditional restaurant?

If there are health concerns, altering or postponing a customary activity may be best.

Remember it’s a blessing when we are healthy enough to gather at all.

As families continue to grow with in-laws, children, and grandchildren, the December calendar begins to burst at the seams. Be gracious.

Over the years of my marriage, my mother always set a wonderful example. As every holiday neared, she’d say, “Find out what his [my husband’s] family is doing, and we’ll work around that date.”

Isn’t that amazing?

Occasionally I receive a phone call informing me one of my beloved family traditions is not going to happen the way I’d envisioned it. Even though there’s initial disappointment, I remember the unselfish kindness of my mother, and try to adapt accordingly.

If you think about it, it’s not the date or place, and quite often not even the activity that makes our traditions special.
I'm thankful for the people God placed in my life.

It’s the people.

Relationships always trump traditions. How we handle those relationships can result in an eternal richness that far exceeds the value of most traditions.

So, the next time we hear one of our traditions has been moved, let’s joyfully respond,

“We’ll work it out. I’m just thankful for the blessing of our people!”

Your turn! Share with us one of your favorite Christmas traditions! :)

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