You never quite realize how important traditions are, how much they define pieces of you, until they end. It's the little things...like fresh baked cookies when you get home on your first day of school or lighting marshmallows over the first fire of the year or reading the Christmas story from the Bible on Christmas Eve. Traditions provide a special stamp. An indelible mark that defines an important time. Something that unites years, decades even. That pulls you into that pocket of the familiar.
Ever since I can remember, I've heard my Dad read the Christmas story from the book of Luke on Christmas Eve. I can hear his voice, "And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them and the glory of the Lord shone round about them, and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not. For behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord."
Tonight, the torch passed. My Dad couldn't be with us to read the Christmas story. And in this season of lights and gifts and family and food, I felt compelled to continue his tradition...his legacy of pulling out the Bible and reading the Christmas story from the book of Luke. Initially, it saddened me that it was my own voice instead of my Dad's reading the verses aloud. But my amazing husband reminded me that traditions are fluid and passed on. He told me that just as my father had read the Christmas story for the four decades of my life, it was now my turn to do so for my children. To continue the tradition by making it my own.
These words of wisdom by my sweet husband are both profound and accurate. Traditions aren't stagnant. They don't exist in the bubble of one generation. That is the antithesis of the meaning of the word "tradition." Such defining, important principals expressed through rituals shared every year or season are designed to be continued. Adopted by the next generation. Whether it's baking cookies, hanging wreaths on every window, watching "The Sound of Music," or singing along to "The Wizard of Oz," just enjoy your family and their traditions. For one day soon, you'll be the one passing on the baton. And the importance of that is immeasurable.