Everyone has family traditions when it comes to the Holiday Season. Maybe it is watching a certain movie, a customary day that the Christmas tree goes up, the order of opening the Christmas presents etc. Many of our holiday traditions are surrounding the food! We have certain dishes that always make up our normal Thanksgiving and Christmas meals. We become accustomed to the same dishes, often made by the same family members, who use the same recipes for may years of our lives. I could always count on my grandma's Dr. Pepper glazed ham, my mom's Mac-n-cheese, and my aunt's dressing.
As I have gotten older, gotten married and moved, the people that I spend the Holidays with have changed. Naturally, the dishes that are eaten at the Holiday meals have changed. About a week before Thanksgiving Day, a few of us sat down and discussed what dishes we were going to eat on Thanksgiving, and who was in charge of making them. Of course, in this conversation, everyone suggested the dishes that they grew up eating, and the recipes that their mothers and grandmothers made. Some of the dishes I had at Thanksgiving this year were were different recipes than I was used to and some were completely new dishes altogether! Others who joined us for Thanksgiving had some of our family recipes that they were not used to!
This year, everyone was very willing to compromise on their traditions, and everything was fine. But, maybe you have been involved in a very heated holiday discussion surrounding this topic! Sometimes these traditions divide families! People get very attached to "what they have always done," so much so that their traditions take priority over what really matters.
This reminds me of an accusation that Jesus makes against the Jewish leaders in Mark 7:6-9. In verse 8-9, Jesus says "you leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men. You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition."
The Jewish leaders allowed their rules to stand in place of God's rules. They allowed their desires to come before God's. They let their traditions divide their relationship with the Lord . I believe this is one of Satan's most useful tactics in the religious world today. In the context of this study, let's define religious traditions as beliefs and practices put in place by man that the Lord has not instituted.
- Some religious traditions are more conservative than what God instituted in His Word- man will bind things on others that the Lord never did.
- Some religious traditions are more liberal than what God instituted in His Word- man will allow things that God has never authorized.
- It doesn't really matter whether a religious tradition leans more conservatively than God desires, or more liberally than God desires, each disregards God's masterful design!
Everyone likely carries the baggage of religious tradition in some way or another. Our past experiences will inevitabley impact our religous perspective. The people of God have a huge responsibility to see God's Word for what is says! If you walk away from this with one piece of information, let it be this: we must become extremely familiar with God's Word if we are going to be people who do not allow tradition to take priority in our lives and drive our beliefs and practices.
When tradition takes first place, it is ugly. Maybe you have witnessed families and friends divide over traditions that could not be set aside, just like the Jewish leaders allowed traditions to drive a wedge between them and God. Let's be Bible people, not tradition people!
If you live in the Huron area, we invite you to the Wisconsin Avenue Church of Christ where we aim to lose the tradition! We do not care to be liberal people, or conservative people, we want to be Bible people! Come and give us a shot, ask questions, and we will point you right to the pages of Scripture! Come see what "Bible People" look like!