As I research my family history, I wonder about my ancestors' traditions.
Which ones, if any, were continued by my parents during my childhood?
Even though both of my grandfathers were ministers, there was no evidence of a spiritual emphasis in the holiday traditions while I was growing up.
When I married, my husband and I meshed our separate customs, and after we had children we decided it was time to start making our own memories.
We kept some of our past traditions, but as I look back, I see they did not include enough emphasis on Jesus.
Webster defines tradition: "The handing down of information, beliefs, and customs by word of mouth or by example from one generation to another without written instruction (as a religious practice or a social custom)."
The patterns we set for our daily lives are part of the process by which our children learn about godly family living. We may think that traditions are important only for the main events and holidays, such as Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas and birthdays.
However, we form a habit of doing something consistently in many areas of life.
Some will eventually be viewed as a family tradition, such as the following:
- Having family devotions
- Praying with our children every day
- Eating dinner with the family at the table
- Keeping in touch with family members
- Creating family photograph albums
- Adopting a family at Christmas
Children tend to take into adulthood many of the types of activities that played an active roll in their parents' lives. We help to enrich our children not only by filling their childhood with memories of a godly home and fun times, but also by instilling a lasting view of a healthy family that is growing in love and respect for the Lord, each other, and other people.
When we evaluate our daily activities and family traditions, we may find that we need to make changes to bring the Lord more into focus.
- Do we focus on the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus at Christmas? Should we even share these days of celebrating Christ with other characters? How much do we include Christ in our home celebration?
- Are we so concerned about the Thanksgiving menu that we neglect to remind our children why the Pilgrims were thankful and what the purpose of their lives was in the New World?
Some changes will help the family to become a closer unit.
- Do we make it a priority to have family devotions?
- Do we turn off the TV and eat dinner with the family at the table?
We may realize that some activities should be started and maintained.
- Do we keep in touch with the family members we seldom see?
- Do we throw our photos in a drawer or box, instead of putting them in a family photo album for all to see and enjoy?
- Do we focus on buying an increasingly greater number of gifts for our children and family, or do we cut back a little so we can adopt a family at Christmas or donate warm clothing for the homeless?
As parents, we want our children to become adults who love the Lord and who will have strong godly families. We desire to give them all the tools we can to achieve these goals.
Family traditions are one tool we can all pass on to our children.