Traditions and Christmas

Published 10:45 am Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Traditions are defined as “the handing down of customs by word of mouth or by example from one generation to another without written instruction.” Sort of like when Forrest Gump said, “From that day on we was always together, Jenny and me was like peas and carrots.”

Growing up, I don’t remember the dish of peas and carrots, but I sure do remember lots of traditions that are tied to this great holiday known as Christmas. Christmas and traditions go together like the Frank Sinatra song “Love and Marriage (Go Together like a horse and carriage).”

Think of those things you have done throughout the years that began when you were a child. Things like gathering around a tree and decorating it with lights, ornaments, tinsel, and, usually, a very special angel or star on top of the tree.

In the past, particularly living on a farm, we would find an Arizona Cypress or some sort of cedar that we had kept our eyes on during the year and about ten days before Christmas cut it down and bring its green and fragrance into the house to be decorated. The decorations through the years would be kept in a worn box and we’d get them out and gather around the tree for a family event.

Nowadays, decorating the tree is just a part of the more extensive preparations we make for our houses. There are Christmas scenes and lights in just about every corner.

Another tradition that is obvious is the songs we sing. I think it was about a month ago that I, first, sang “The Christmas Song.” My favorite version, by far, is the Nat King Cole rendition, but once the gate is opened by the first Christmas song, our ears are filled with the songs of the season, including the one that you like best.

The Hallmark Channel on television starts the ball rolling with Christmas movies, but I know of plenty of families that have traditional Christmas movies that they watch together. It might be the only time of the year that they watch the same movie, but Christmas isn’t Christmas until we’ve seen “It’s a Wonderful Life” or “Miracle on 34th Street.”

I haven’t cued up my “Charlie Brown Christmas” yet but, rest assured, before Santa Claus comes down the chimney, I’ll hear Linus tell us what the real meaning of Christmas is. And Snoopy’s doghouse will still win the neighborhood award for gaudiness!

Poinsettias would be pretty any time of the year, but we only see them during Christmas. Cheese balls, Ladyfinger cookies, cheese straws and chocolate-covered cherries are sweet no matter what month, but somehow they only show up during the ‘Most Wonderful Time of the Year.”

Colorful houses with lights hung from the rooftops, wreaths on just about every door, trees in the windows, songs on the radio, movies that we only see during this month of December, and finger foods that delight our palettes; these are a few of my favorite things.

But all of those wonderful accoutrements that accompany Christmas, as traditional and meaningful as they are, can’t capture the real joy of this season. We have to acknowledge that Savior who was born in Bethlehem.

As we light the Candles that are a part of our Advent season, we have hope, peace, joy, love, and light because of Him. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Christmas is many things to many people, but unless it means the birth of the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world, there is something missing. Merry Christmas to all of you and thanks for the goodness you show others.