We all have traditions in our lives. I, for one, love tradition. As I come off of the holiday season, I have gone through a season of embracing a variety of traditions that we have incorporated into our family life.
- We buy a live Christmas tree...a Fraser Fur. We call our tree Benton after a character in the television show "Due South". He is a Canadian Mountie named Benton Fraser. The actor is Paul Gross.
- Each of the girls has their own small artificial tree. They each have received different themed ornaments since they were babies, and these go on their trees. Molly has angels, Zoe has bunnies, and Cosette has stars.
- Growing up Mom always had a cornucopia with colored Christmas balls spilling out of it onto evergreen boughs as part of her decorations. I continue this tradition at my home.
- Each Christmas Eve we choose a country and learn about this country's traditions for Christmas, and eat food from this country. This year our country was Scotland. Countries we have celebrated in the past include England, Germany, Thailand, Romania, The Ukraine, Italy, Greece, Russia, Japan, Mexico. If we know someone from that country, we ask them for help, and sometimes they join us for the meal. This year our friend Gail has Scottish ancestry (she is from the Cameron clan) and shared with us some of her Scottish heritage for our meal. Last year some wonderful friends had relative from The Ukraine, and they joined us for dinner. A few years ago some neighbors had been missionaries in Thailand, and they shared with us special Thai recipes and traditions. This makes it all the more special when people we know are involved.
- Our family usually attends a service on Christmas Eve. The church we attend now is the church I grew up in, and they have an evening candlelight service. For years and years, the tradition at this service as been for everyone at the end of the service to light candles and sing "Silent Night". I love this tradition!
- Caroling. I like to sing Christmas carols, and I'm not sure there has ever been a Christmas season where I have not gone caroling. When I was younger, my Campfire group would go caroling. As I grew older, it was church youth groups. Now we have a caroling party each year sometime between when Christmas vacation begins and Christmas Eve. We invite people to come and join us, and we walk around our neighborhood to carol, then we pile into cars and drive to different destinations around Kellogg. This year we had 24 people attend our party. It was so much fun!! At each home we visit, we give them a small bag of homemade hot drink mix, such as Fireside Coffee, Christmas Tea, Café Bavarian or Vanilla Chai Tea. Then we come back to our house, and play "Catch Phrase". It is a wonderful tradition!!
As I look over the rest of the year, I tried to think of other traditions I do at other times of the year. Here is what I came up with as other yearly traditions.
As I take down the Christmas decorations, my living room is taken over by Snowmen.
On the Fourth of July we sit behind the Silver Mountain condos in the parking lot and watch the fireworks.
In the spring I plant vegetables. I also buy bedding plants and put them in pots in front of my house.
We have an Easter Egg hunt on Easter morning.
Traditions are good. As Tevye says in the song "Tradition"...
Because of our traditions, we've kept our balance for many, many years. Here in Anatevka, we have traditions for everything: how to sleep, how to eat... how to work... how to wear clothes. For instance, we always keep our heads covered, and always wear a little prayer shawl that shows our constant devotion to God. You may ask, "How did this tradition get started?" I'll tell you!
I don't know. But it's a tradition... and because of our traditions... Every one of us knows who he is and what God expects him to do.
I like the phrase..."we've kept our balance for many, many years".
As we live our lives, finding a balance is good. That helps us live our life to the fullest.
I look at traditions as a bridge.....it helps us connect the past with the future. It helps us identify with what has come before us, and see the importance of what has happened in our past. And it helps solidify the relationships in our lives as well as we journey into the future.
It helps us find the beauty and balance of both what has come before, and what lies ahead.
And because of these traditions, our relationships are stronger.
Because that is what living a good life of tradition is all about.....the strength of relationships.