Faith intersects culture and we build on the foundation that others built before us. There are many holidays that are before us this time of year. Amidst a melting pot of cultures around us, it’s a wonderful time to think about traditions and where they came from, but also traditions that we construct or adapt to fit our lives. We recreate the form of the tradition while the essence of it exists.
Santa Claus, like all good legends was made popular by the Coca-Cola company but origins go back even further to a 4th century Greek Christian Bishop who supposedly gave gifts December 6th. It is widely held that Martin Luther changed the gifting of children to turn the attention of children towards Christ as the giver of gifts and not towards a Saint Claus.
Traditions like these, may or may not begin to lose their meaning through time but we seek to remember their significance.
Christmas is a time of Jesus coming and our celebration of his life and the beginning of His Kingdom manifesting in life. This story had a much earlier however in the form of the Book of Ruth.
Ruth, the foreign widowed daughter of Naomi said that she would return with Naomi to her land and that Naomi’s God would be her God. Ruth decided to come to a foreign land, just like Jesus did when he came from Heaven to earth. She was then redeemed by Boaz, who was a kinsman redeemer. Just like Ruth, we are redeemed by Jesus into his family and have the incredible privilege of being part of the ministry of God through the years. The activity of God never exists in a vacuum. What happens today has reverberations throughout history. What Ruth may not have known is that she would be the great great grandmother of King David, and eventually Jesus. What she also may not have known, is that when she returned to Bethlehem, it would be the same place that the our Savior would be born many many years later.
A simple thought I had during this holiday is this: what traditions do I want to set for this season to center my attention on Christ and to set my families attention on Christ.
What is it that you do? Is it simply tradition or is it rooted in something deeper?
If you knew that the actions and traditions you set as consistently in your life had future reverberations, what would you set in place? What would you leave behind?
Happy Advent season. Much to think and reflect on, but much to celebrate as well. There is much that may be unknown in your lives, but we do know that Christ never leaves the center of our lives. As we set Him as our center, then we allow everything else to revolve around Him.