The Fall

The summer heat is slowly moving out and cool breezes are starting to blow. It is definitely feeling more like fall with every new day. Football is in full swing with school spirit at its annual high. Planning is almost complete for next year’s youth events calendar, and Jill and I are getting ready for the upcoming holiday season as first time parents. It is an exciting, yet stressful time filled with tradition, change, and the anticipation of the holiday season.

As new parents this year we are excited to establish new traditions with our son, while at the same time maintaining some of the traditions we had as kids with our families: watching “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown”, dressing up for the fall festivals at school, and trick or treating in our grandparents neighborhood. We are filled with excitement about the next generation of our family and his upcoming experience with the American holiday season. We are dreaming about him and his friends going to the “Trunk or Treat” at our church or playing games at the fall festival with its cake walks and candy treats. We are talking about all the little history he will learn about Thanksgiving and the trinkets he will bring home from school. We are anticipating his first experience with every generation of Jill’s family together on Thanksgiving Day. But what I am most excited about is Christmas and all its many traditions: the Christmas tree, the nativity scene; the elf on the shelf, the toy and clothing drives, the Christmas morning excitement, the Christmas afternoon nap, the candle light ceremonies, and all the Christmas stories (especially “How the Grinch stole Christmas”). The season of nationwide traditions is exciting and rapidly approaching.

What will these traditions, old and new, teach this next generation? Well the conversations about our son’s education are starting. Not the education he will receive at school, or in Bible classes at church (at least not in this conversation), but the learning that he will see and experience through mine and Jill’s family traditions and the new traditions that our generation will introduce. These routines and celebrations will likely have a lasting, and hopefully positive, impact on his and subsequent generations to come.

As a family, God’s people have always had many traditions passed down through the generations. Some were instated by God – Passover, Pentecost, The Day of Atonement, Sabbath, etc. Other traditions have been created by man – Christmas, Easter, and Sunday and Wednesday Bible classes. Throughout history God has created traditions that call His people closer to him and connect them to each other throughout the generations. In the Old Testament God used festivals, sacrifice, and feasts to call his people back to Him and remind them of His desire to be with them. Jesus tells his people in Mark 2, that God created the Sabbath for his children, not his children for the Sabbath, setting up the Sabbath as a gift. It seems as though God saw the importance of traditions in our lives.

Even the modern social sciences see the importance of ritual and tradition in the modern age. Social research shows that meaningful traditions can help bridge in positive ways the distance between the five generations living concurrently today, tying them each to the larger narrative of life. Furthermore, families with consistent and meaningful traditions have healthier, more stable and loving relationships that launch young adults out who feel more secure about their identity.

If you can squeeze it in, take some time this week to have a conversation with a friend, family member, or brother/sister in Christ about the traditions in your life. Talk about how those events take your heart back in time reminding you of a lesson you learned or a relationship you once had. Talk about what you learned and what you think those traditions may teach the next generation about your history and beliefs.


Other Posts You Might Like:

What We Will Miss - Bob Bentley

Congregational Prayer Night – November 2nd - Ross Thomson

The Quest - Nic Dunbar

Harvest Sunday - Ross Thomson

Got Any Change? - Laurie Templeton

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