Christmas is a time for traditions. Sometimes the word itself can hold a negative connotation. And in many instances traditions are negative. I think traditions are bad in two ways. Traditions are bad when they become the way we do things simply because we've "always done it this way". Sometimes this prevents us from doing things a better way. Traditions can also be bad when they become the way we expect everyone else to do things even when their tradition is perfectly fine. But this blog is not to really about all that.
this is a blog that celebrates tradition - especially Christmas ones. Sometimes traditions are very good. They are good when they take you back to a place or to people you really love. They are good when they help you remember things that should be remembered. They are good when they bind you together with others who share the tradition. As I sit in a hotel lobby in my favorite town (Indianapolis) on a brief Christmas vacation, I ponder some of my Christmas traditions:
this quick trip is becoming a tradition. We left church yesterday after second hour and made our way to downtown Indy. tomorrow we are heading to Cincinnati and Sara's family and then the following day back through Indy to my brother's house for my family. I love it all (supposed to snow too).
While in Indy I take in alot of tradtion stuff. Walking on the monument circle, seeing the toy soldiers and the lights - all this stuff takes me back to my chubby little childhood. It just makes me smile! This past weekend, we served over 850 families at Eastview's "IMAGINE" with coats, toys, and food. This is a four year tradition now for our church. Most of you don't know but this really touches me on so many levels - one is that my family grew up poor and benefitted from our church family providing food many times in my growing up years. There was more than one winter that I would have gone without a coat if some kind person would not have purchased one for me. I can remember at least two Christmases with one toy under the tree. This is not a "woe is me" remembering. I was a completely happy and content kid. It just warms my heart that thousands of kids will wake up Christmas morning and have a present under their tree because of Eastview's annual tradition.
Another tradition Sara and i have started is to go up to Chicago and see "A Christmas Carol" at the Goodman Theatre. Did it again last week and as we left the play, it was snowing a beautiful light snow with the lights of Michigan Ave. twinkling between snow flakes - awesome.
We also have begun taking up a special ministry offering each December for expaning ministry at Eastview...and even thought there was a blizzard last week, and nearly 2,000 people less in attandance - the offering beat last year's! We are still getting checks, so it's not over, but we're on the way. Great tradition of giving.
Finally, I'm already working on the sermon for this Friday night's Christmas Eve services at Eastview. I love this time of getting the whole family together (even though preaching with tons of kids in the room is a lot harder) and celebrating the season and the REASON together. I have a lot more traditions, but we'll talk of them in the future.