Friday, November 15, 2019

Some Thoughts on Traditions for this Holiday Season

Are your traditions serving you and your family or are you serving your traditions? 

I heard some form of this question at a women's retreat I attended earlier this year. It has stuck with me for a few months and I find myself pondering the answer, especially as we approach the holiday season. 

Josh and I have brought traditions from each of our families, some of which are expected of us and some we truly enjoy. We've had many conversations about what traditions we want to continue and brainstormed some traditions we want to start. I think this process is really important and can be difficult depending on how your extended family handles traditions. I've seen a lot of people wanting more and less importance placed on tradition but I rarely see people who are just content. I think this is because family traditions involve family. Can you relate? 

Coordinating events while meshing so many personalities and navigating feelings can be exhausting. Don't get me wrong, it's worth it, which is why I'm even working through this question in the first place. And I know I'm as much a piece in these situations as anyone else ;)

As a young family, we are striving to choose traditions that build and uphold the foundation we want our family to sit upon. That foundation consists of Christ, love, stability, peace, simplicity, fun, creativity, and community (read family and friends). There are probably some others, but these are the major ones...and it's a lot if I can go ahead and say what's probably going through your head. 

I don't believe tradition is about the food or table settings or even location even though those things can definitely play a significant role. I honestly believe tradition is about the people you're with and the goodness that is brought when people gather. Jesus even says, "For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them" Matthew 18:20. And it is during these times of tradition that we should "encourage one another and build one another up..." 1 Thessalonians 5:11. 

This is the tradition I want to participate in and instill in my family. Gathering and encouraging and building one another up.  

My challenge for this holiday season is to really evaluate how I behave during family gatherings. How often do I encourage? Am I actually building others up or am I tearing them down? Why?

My biggest take away from this thought journey is that our traditions need to serve our family and not the other way around. Our family is constantly changing and growing and so we should be open to our traditions doing the same; however, if our core tradition is creating events and memories that build our foundation, we can't go wrong. 

I don't think we should approach traditions or our feelings about them as if they are set in stone. We should give ourselves permission to explore our motives, beliefs, and needs along the way and constantly return to whatever foundation we're building our families on.  

On a lighter note, who has a recipe for pumpkin pie or any pie for that matter? Drop the link below.

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