Over many Christmases in my married life, I have created some traditions, which I impose upon the family—all boys. These fall under their trivia list, which is why Tony humors me, probably thinking, “It’s no skin off my nose.”
First, a family Christmas card. I get the boys together for a family photo with a Christmas letter about how our year was.
Second, a roast turkey for Noche Buena. In the early days, Tony was chef after which son #3 took over. But both were blessed with a gofer—Ate Vi, our long-time househelp.
Third, a Christmas tree with a different motif each year.
For the first time in years, we have no Christmas card. My two unmarried sons, #1 and #3, were too busy with their personal pursuits. They are no longer kids, so I couldn’t cajole them into posing. My photo file has nothing close to a family shot.
“Mom, nobody reads Christmas letters anymore,” son #3 said.
“There’s FB, Twitter, and . . .” added son #1.
I gave up.
For the first time in years, too, son#3 opted to buy a roast turkey instead of preparing one. Reason: his gofer, now advanced in the years, retired one month before Christmas (but that’s another story). Ate Vi’s replacement hasn’t seen the likes of an oven.
“This turkey doesn’t come close to yours,” I complained to son #3. Tony and son #1 agreed, but we had nothing else for Christmas dinner.
Goodbye to home-cooked turkey.
And then, there’s my Christmas tree. Trimming it required no help from the boys so it went up and served as my uncomplaining photo model.
Two Christmas traditions now gone with the wind, what was I to do?
While writing a blog on Christmas and reading the Scripture, I came across how man-made traditions can control people. Jesus addressed the issue in Mark 7. The Pharisees and Jews had traditions such as not eating unless they washed their hands a certain way, etc.
In v. 5, the Pharisees asked Jesus, “Why do your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?”
Jesus reminded them of Isaiah’s prophesy on hypocrites—“These people honor me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men. You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.”
Where in the Bible, I asked myself, does it require a family photo/letter and roast turkey for Noche Buena?
Without those, Christmas is still Christmas. In fact, man-made traditions could take time away from focusing on the King of kings.
While celebrating Christmas in December 2016, sans my traditions which kept me in stupor, I was doused in grace, and I quickly came to.