Daily Archives: December 6, 2013

Traditions: from one generation to the next

These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Deuteronomy 6.6-7 NIV

Being human means that we need events, experiences, and traditions to remind us of what is really important.

My family, both immediate and extended, has kept family traditions all year long, especially during the holidays. There are a few Christmas traditions in my family. Every year, we attend 1-4 holiday parties, each one incredibly different, and that just within my immediate and extended family (not including work, church, etc.)! 

Christmases past consisted of gift-giving and sweet treats. We normally didn’t have a meal and everyone brought sweet treats like Christmas cookies, puppy chow , deviled eggs, and – my personal favorite – Cheelognas.

It’s pronounced like bologna and consists of a combination of Cheese Whiz, onion and, you guessed it, bologna. (“Cheese” + “Bologna” = “Cheelogna” …get it?)That mixture is spread on bread – any kind – and popped in the oven for 2-5 minutes on a high broil, just until the edges turn brown. The flavor is even more exceptional if they’re a little burnt.

And it’s incredibly delicious.

Fattening too, I suppose. But hey, I live in Minnesota. It’s cold here and a little extra cushion keeps you warm. Then again, I limit my intake, good as those little treats are.

A family tradition

“Traditions are a part of life. They set standards of behavior. They impart family values. They help knit together family members into a tapestry that gives each one a sense of belonging and acceptance…not limited to a particular season…” – Richard Ivy, Memories of Dad

It’s true.

Those family traditions are deeply rooted in our family’s history. The Cheelogna recipe has been handed down a few generations now and probably didn’t start with Cheese Whiz as a staple ingredient since the product made its national debut in 1953.  

And it’s over those sandwiches that we’ve shared some of our best conversations. My uncle, who is in the Air Force, would talk about his travels and life experiences. Another would share stories of his Harley-adventures. My aunts, grandmother and mother would share what God was doing in their lives, both in the year past and currently, and I would sit and listen with awe and wonder at how active God still is, here and now.

So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the teachings [or traditions] we passed on to you… 2 Thessalonians 2.15a

And it’s those same traditions I hope to pass on to others, whether I have a family of my own one day or not. I can still share the joy of Christ with everyone who crosses my path.

How about you? What traditions are part of your family’s history? Do they reflect the life of Christ here and now? If not, how can you start today to include him? What would that look like?

December 6: peace to those with whom he’s pleased

“And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” Luke 2.12-14

Peace for whom? There is a somber note sounded in the angels’ praise. Peace among men on whom his favor rests. Peace among men with whom he is pleased. Without faith it is impossible to please God. So Christmas does not bring peace to all.

“This is the judgment,” Jesus said, “that the light has come into the world and men loved darkness rather than the light because their deeds are evil” (John 3.19). Or as the aged Simeon said when he saw the child Jesus, “Behold this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel and for a sign that is spoken against…that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed” (Luke 2.34-35). O, how many there are who look out on a bleak and chilly Christmas day and see no more than that.

“He came to his own and his own received him not, but to as many as received him to them gave he power to become the sons of God, to as many as believed on his name.” It was only to his discipled that Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

The people who enjoy the peace of God that surpasses all understanding are those who in everything by prayer and supplication let their requests be made known to God.

The key that unlocks the treasure chest of God’s peace is faith in the promises of God. So Paul prays, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing” (Romans 15.13). And when we do trust the promises of God and have joy and peace and love, then God is glorified.

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men with whom he is pleases – men who would believe.

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