Friday, December 18, 2009


Tradition - the word itself evokes and number of reactions: stiff, appropriate, expected, warm, reliable, comforting. Tradition is right and tradition is wrong. Somewhere in the middle, like justice and mercy - there is a balance I'm always searching for.
I once had a conversation with an older women about how important tradition is to my kids. They want the same things we did last year at Christmas to happen this year. They want a Kindersurprise - it's tradition. They want Christmas cereal - it's tradition or to open one present on Christmas Eve. She replied, and this was a startling revelation, "well that's the way you raised them - tradition is important to them because that is what you taught them." I did not realize this. What if every Christmas, I had mixed things up and said "Let's do something completely different this year!" I wonder what kind of children I would then have raised. Too late - the job is done and I'm just being retrospective.
When we remove traditions it's like pulling the rug out and you lose your sense of boundary. Suddenly you have to search around for the new boundary. Is that such a bad thing? Probably not - they say you should try something new all the time.
But tradition truly has it's place - the warm comforting reliable sense it brings. It binds us together and is part of what family is about. I know at Christmas time I can rely on the the firemen pulling out the old firetruck and decorating it with a thousand lights that flash and bling at the firehall. I know there will be Turtles to eat and my Dad's cholesterol-killing Scottish Eggs. I know there will be Christmas music playing in the malls and the pathetic string of paper stars connected with straws I made when I was in Grade 1 will be at the back of our Christmas tree. Jesus himself encouraged us to continue the tradition of taking the bread and wine until His return - "do this in remembrance of me" but He also was seriously turned off with the traditions deeply set in the religious leaders.
So we are back to the balance of tradition. Not too far to the left and not too far to the right.
I hope you can find it yourself -for you and yours.


  1. Merry Christmas Cyndi and the Crowder Clan...we love traditions at Christmas too. Certain treats must be in the stockings...1 gift Christmas picks it, and it is always new PJs...(same tradition I grew up with...go figure!)

  2. I often balk at tradition but gotta admit, I always loved opening that new bubble bath on Christmas eve.

  3. Shaun, Joe and I are all gathered around this computer (and beside the warm fire) reading your Blog post. So true! Our favorite traditions are: special treats in the stockings, following my German heritage and opening the gifts on Christmas Eve (but stockings are Christmas morning). Totally predictable and totally things that we all look forward to each year. :) I am always delighted when Shaun is able to surprise me with a gift or two. (Very hard to do as I am such a sneak and always finding things out)!
    ps. Merry Christmas and much love to you all from us.

  4. I struggle with bringing the traditions I grew up with into my own family and also creating new traditions. Since we live so close to Andrew's family, his family traditions are the ones that end up taking precedence. Finding the balance is really tough ...

    Merry Christmas to you and yours ...