tra di tion | \ tre-di-shen
an inherited, established or customary pattern of thought, action or behavior (such as a religious practice or a social custom)
I’ve been thinking about traditions since a recent church service. Our pastor announced that we would be taking part in a tradition established by the first century Christian church. A group of men were being ordained as deacons of the church. For some, it was their first time. For others, they were already ordained but coming back into active service. The amazing thing is that it is something the Christian church has been doing for two-thousand years.
It all started in the early church. Jesus commissioned the disciples to go and spread the good news, to make disciples, to baptize and to teach. He also charged them with taking care of the widows and orphans. The friction occurred when they were spending so much time helping the widows that they didn’t have time to preach the word. They needed help. That is when the idea of formally establishing a group of deacons or elders to take care of the physical needs of the people came up. It would free up the disciples to do their job of spreading the word about Jesus. You can read about it in Acts 6:1-6.
We All Have Traditions
We all have traditions that we follow, religious or secular.
As I reflect on my life, I can think of many traditions I have followed. My fondest memories involve family traditions. Some were related to the holidays and some just everyday life.
When I was young, my extended family had lunch together at my grandparents’ house every Sunday after church. With two grandparents, two parents, three aunts and uncles, a little brother and six cousins, it was always a lively affair. For years, every Christmas Eve and Easter Sunday meant gathering at their house as well. It’s what we did.
Once my grandparents passed, and families grew, the traditions changed.
We have a different Christmas tradition now. My parents, my brother and his family and my family celebrate Christmas on December 26. No, we aren’t Canadian or English. It’s not Boxing Day but the time our family can be together to celebrate the birth of Jesus. We also have an untraditional Christmas dinner of Cuban sandwiches, black beans and rice and Key Lime pie. That’s what we do now but it may change one day.
The traditions we have now change with the change in family dynamics. Children grow up, move away and marry. The traditions are more fluid.
Some traditions last a long time, hundreds or thousands of years. Family traditions we have now may change with the change in family dynamics. Children grow up, move away and marry. Traditions are more fluid. — Tweet this
The Importance of Some Long-Held Traditions
I was struck by the longevity of the tradition in the church. Two thousand years is a long time to do something. Granted, some denominations do it differently than others but the concept is the same. There is always someone set apart to look after the physical needs of the congregation.
That doesn’t let you or me off the hook, though. We may not be ordained deacons or elders but we are all called to do our part to help the widows, orphans and anyone else who needs us.
What are some of your family’s traditions? Have you seen a change in your traditions? If you live in an empty nest, what changes have you experienced in your traditions?