These days we are full-flung into the season of family and celebration. It’s all making me feel a little bit like Tevye from the famous musical, Fiddler on the Roof, stomping around the house crying, “Tradition!” I’m just missing the big bushy beard and belly to jiggle…OK a few other things too. But you know what I mean.
So here’s my nod to tradition:
At my house, we’ve already hosted Thanksgiving, gone to the tree farm, and trimmed our tree. We’re edging into December and we’re living in Thanksmas at the moment—halfway between pumpkins and snowflakes…Tradition!
We’ve made gingerbread houses and peppermint bark, we’re prepping for Christmas cookies and eating leftover pecan pie. My waistline might be expanding if I didn’t hit the treadmill at 5 am…Tradition!
My kids try to sneak peaks at the packages I’ve hidden on the top shelf of the closet. I’ve been bit by the same generous bug as St. Nicholas and there are presents for nieces and nephews, aunts and uncles, grandmas and grandpas, including a new game for us to all play together…Tradition!
Somewhere under a pile of school papers is the advent calendar. Every night, we clear space enough space on the table to avoid a fire hazard, when we light the Advent candles, and read a special Christmas book…Tradition!
We’ve smiled for pictures that are perfect. Stuffed messes away. We clean up real nice, but we’re starting to fray.
So purpose and meaning we seek, packing shoeboxes full of toys for kids who’ve nothing, put together scarves for the homeless, given presents to the local foster group home. And, while good and necessary and right, it still lacks a bit of something.
Perhaps it’s a leftover melancholy from my childhood, where traditions were few and far between. But as I sit here in the quiet, with my coffee, I wonder if meaning comes less from tradition, and more from the consistent presence of a loving friend or parent.
So yes, tradition has purpose and contributes to meaning. But it’s my presence inside those traditions that make the difference. And somehow that’s a little freeing.