Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Despicable Tradition

One of my longest lasting traditions is going to end in a week and a half. Every year of my life my family has hosted a New Year's Day party centering on football, food, and fun. The only people not-blood related to me, who have been at every single one of those parties will not be there this year, and while they will be sorely missed, it has made me think a thought which would probably make many people uncomfortable.

Does anyone feel like tradition is overrated?

I guess I've never been one for many traditions. My family didn't have too many when I was growing up, and many of the ones that I do remember only stuck for a few years until we moved on to other things.

Some traditions are not important at all. We used to have ham on Christmas. I despise baked ham. The year that I made a ham sandwich for Christmas dinner was the last year we had ham, and now we have beef. Much better.

Other traditions are incredibly important. No one in our household is allowed to open any Christmas presents until we read Luke 2:1-20. That's a tradition that my family will continue this year, and the year after that, and it's one that I will pass on to my kids as well.

But, for the most part, I feel tradition really isn't as big of a deal as we make it. In fact, I feel like many traditions that people hold are because OTHERS expect them to hold those traditions. Unfortunately, I'm always reminded of this around Christmastime, and then I think back to one particular Bible verse. This is God speaking to the nation of Israel through the prophet Amos:

Amos 5:21-24 NLT
"I hate all your show and pretense--the hypocrisy of your religious festivals and solemn assemblies. I will not accept your burnt offerings and grain offerings. I won't even notice all your choice peace offerings. Away with your hymns of praise! They are only noise to my ears. I will not listen to your music, no matter how lovely it is."
"Instead, I want to see a mighty flood of justice, a river of righteous living that will never run dry."

Merry Christmas Everyone!

But in all seriousness, we all come together to celebrate Christmas... but what are we truly celebrating? The birth of Christ? or the exchange of presents? Is Christmas that one time a year when you make an effort to get to church?

A New Year is approaching, a time where we tend to hit the reset button and try to readjust our lives to better ourselves. Examine your heart this Christmas season, see what you're truly celebrating, and if need be make a correction.

In all seriousness, Merry Christmas. Next week I'll be home with my family, but if you check back, I presume there will be a link to some kind of Christmas update letter or something. In the event that I don't get on here next week, though, Happy New Year as well!