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home : religion : religion January 23, 2019

12/1/2018 5:48:00 AM
Keeping Traditions
First Baptist Church would like to invite the public to join us for the following celebrations of the season.  The church is located on Robin Road off S. Generals Blvd. (NC150 West) in Lincolnton.
First Baptist Church would like to invite
the public to join us for the following
celebrations of the season.  The church
is located on Robin Road off S. Generals
Blvd. (NC150 West) in Lincolnton.

Dr. Stanley Spence, Pastor
First Baptist Church, Lincolnton, N.C.

Sometimes we get into a rut: Christmas decorations exactly the same every year, vacation to the same location every year, traditions, feeling exhausted just remembering how tired we were after the previous year and more. We miss the value of efficiency in repeatable traditions by calling them boring when in fact they are not. Many traditions teach us how to carry on in the face of major life changes. It is part of how we identify ourselves.

During moments of extreme confusion brought on by traumatic stress, one of the simplest strategies for calming down is taking a drink of water. It’s like pressing a reset butto--allowing individuals to calm down and begin to think again. So it is with traditions. We follow repeatable patterns because they help us find our identity and calmness in the midst of a busy season. Yet nothing tears up a calming tradition like stressing over it.

One particular Christmas I will always remember was when I was a young child singing in a toddler’s choir with an angelic robe to be worn. It had a huge bow on it and as a little boy, I for one, was not wearing a big bow on my robe, I didn’t care whose birthday it was. My dad and I fussed over getting the robe on and I must have been fighting him hard because the robe tore. My dad had to walk away handing me over to my mom. I believe I was the only toddler up there singing without a robe that year, but I wasn’t going to wear a big bow nor even a robe for that matter. I noticed, those robes disappeared before too much longer and I never had to wear one after that battle.

One example of this is when we say the Lord’s Prayer. It is like remembering the words Jesus taught his disciples when they asked for help in how to pray. If we stress over saying it, we have lost the value of His teaching it in the first place. Simply following His example of how to pray is a beautiful example of a healthy prayer. It, too, is like pressing a reset button in our spirit during troubled times. We are reminded of God’s presence and provision for us when we pray this prayer. It puts us back on our feet spiritually so to speak.

Christmas reminds us of how it all began. It is a reset button of how Jesus’ arrival was intended to be hope to the world, good news. We have distorted Jesus’ coming by our many traditions of everything but the good news of His arrival. We stress over all the different activities and traditions, when in fact they are reminders of who we are. You know, I really rather miss the little angelic robes, even with the big bows, now that I am older; but, what can you tell a little boy whose mind is made up.  Maybe it is okay to keep a tradition if someone objects and maybe it’s not. Remember the main reason for traditions this time of year is keeping our identity in Christ and for whom do they exist. I think I’ll intentionally keep Christmas about Christ. Yes--and all the traditions, noticing the reason why they exist: good news for all human kind, including you and me.

Carolina Trust Bank

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