Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Traditions

“Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.”
I Corinthians 11:2 (KJV)

We started our Christmas decorating a few weeks ago, but today, we kicked it into high gear at our house.  Kevin made his yearly trip to the attic, bringing down crate after crate of nativity scenes, garland, lighted houses, ornaments, and decorations.  It is a tradition for Zachary and me to sit down and go through the crates, taking out things we want to use, and putting the rest away for Kevin to put back in the attic.  We turn on a Christmas tape or CD, and we have lots of fun….remembering, laughing, and looking forward to the coming holiday.

Today, it hit me that time goes SO fast, and it won’t be long until it will be time to take it all down and put it all away for another year.  I thought, “What’s the point?  All of this work seems kind of futile and unnecessary.”  As we get older, it seems more cumbersome to me.  Kevin’s knee and back problems are steadily worsening, and it is hard for him to make so many trips up and down the attic stairs.  I get worn out a lot quicker and easier than I used to.  Today, I began to wonder if it is really worth all the work of keeping our Christmas traditions going, when it is for such a short time of enjoyment. 

As I was working away, putting everything in its place, Kevin and Zachary decided to spend some time outside with the dogs.  By the time they came back in, I had made lots of progress and was almost finished.  When Zach walked in the front door, he was so excited!  “Oh, Mama!  Oh, Mama!  It’s beautiful” he called as he took it all in.  Just seeing all of the familiar pieces brought him so much joy!  We stood together in front of our dining room hutch and hit the button on his favorite lighted house and listened to the Christmas song it played.  “Oh, Mama!  That one is my favorite!” he said with childish excitement.  I wrapped my arm around him and said, “I know, Zach.  Don’t ever lose the magic!  And always remember all of these special traditions, okay?”  He promised me he wouldn’t and he would, respectively.  It hit me right then and there that it is ALL worth it.  Whatever work it involves making home a happy, secure, predictable constant in his life and maintaining every cherished tradition, is well-worth it to me. 

Traditions are important.  They mean something to us, and no matter how hard it is to keep them alive, it is well worth the price paid to do so.   Children need traditions…they will draw from them later in life, just as you and I draw from special memories of our childhood. 

In II Thessalonians 2:15 (KJV), Paul gave this instruction.  
“Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.”  Why?  Because truths that we have learned from the Word of God are just that important.  He was not talking about man-made traditions and heavy burdens that men bind on the backs of Christians - not because of any Biblical command, but by their own interpretations and will.  He was speaking of the pure, holy truth that is in Jesus Christ.  Jesus said in John 14:6 (KJV), “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

We live in a world that is changing….fast.  Many of the traditional truths we have been taught are being questioned and even cast aside for the sake of “modern” and “progress”.  While some changes can be beneficial, there are some things that should be left alone and never changed.  Like the fact that there is only one true God Who created all things, and we are to worship only Him in spirit and in truth.  And the fact that Jesus Christ is His only begotten Son Who came in the flesh and was born in Bethlehem that first Christmas night so long ago.  And the fact that He grew up to be a man and died a sacrificial death on a rugged cross for our salvation, and there is no other way to Heaven except through Him.

I can’t imagine all the changes Zachary will see in his lifetime.  He is going to need to have the truth of God’s Word ingrained into the fiber of his being in order to not be shaken by all of the alterations and modifications he will see.  David had a concern about this when he wrote the 48th Psalm.  He wrote in verses 12 & 13, “Walk about Zion, and go round about her: tell the towers thereof.  Mark you well her bulwarks, consider her palaces; that you may tell it to the generation following.”  He had a deep concern that his generation become so familiar with Jerusalem…that all of its attributes and qualities be so deeply imbedded in their minds, that they could remember it to tell the generation who was coming after them. 

You and I need to have such a vivid, solid vision of God, His church, His love, and His truth, that we can tell our children and the generation following us.  If we let go of the traditions we have been taught, if we cast aside the truths that are dear to our hearts, if we compromise God’s Word, they will never have the opportunity of seeing it as we see it. 

Sure it is going to take some work and effort….sometimes we will wonder if it is all worth the sacrifices we have to make.  But, in the long run, when our children meet us in Heaven one day….we’ll be so glad we did!  I can just picture Zachary coming through the gates of glory, and me being there to welcome him, and him saying, “Oh, Mama!  Oh, Mama!  It’s beautiful!”  Is it worth it to stay firm and true and hold my traditions and faith in God?  Absolutely!  It will be worth it for you, too, my friend...whatever the cost! 

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