'Twas the week before Christmas at my house and------
I have been busy Christmas shopping for my grandkids and making cookies and treats to take with us on our traditional family get-away for Christmas. There have been so many family outings canceled this year because of that nasty old word, COVID. But, at last, with only one week left before Christmas, our two girls and their families will be coming together at one of our favorite resorts in Kemah, Texas, for three days of family fun. I am so excited to get out of town and have some fun with my grands.
On Monday morning of this week, I put the last batch of cookies in the oven to take on our trip. I couldn’t wait to sneak Hannah, Zach, Hadley and Hope over to mine and their Granddaddy’s motel room and give them cookies and coke for breakfast. (That’s the way grandparents roll, don’t you know!!)
Coming from the TV in the other room, I heard the following announcements.
- Southern California is in lock-down. (“I hope that is not the area Lynn lives in.”)
- England is in lock-down, again. (“Poor Libby – England has been through so much this year.”)
And on and on, the media kept reporting restrictions that were being placed on cities around the world. (“My heart goes out to them; I am so glad we do not live in a restricted area.”)
And about that time, my telephone rang. I glanced at the caller ID and saw that it was my oldest daughter, Crystal. Excited, I picked up the phone to tell her all I had been doing this week to put the finishing touches on our trip. She sat quietly and finally softly said, “Mom, it has just been announced at the hospital (her workplace) that the virus is on the rise again in Southeast, Texas. I have concerns about going to a resort area for Christmas.”
"But," she continued, "we can still have fun right in my backyard around my fire pit - - making smores, singing Christmas songs, letting the kids run and play in the backyard,” and on and on she went as if she were being paid to advertise her backyard as the perfect resort area for Christmas.
I sat in silence, groaning in disappointment. I was so ready to continue our family’s tradition in an out-of-town area! In my long silence, I could faintly hear Crystal saying, “Mom, are you there? I'm sorry!”
And suddenly, I heard the voice of the Holy Spirit whisper gently to me: “Martha, didn’t you learn a lesson years ago from the Apostle Paul about traditions?”
“Refresh my memory, Lord.” And then it all flashed before me.
Call to Apostleship Galatians 1: 13-17 NKJV
13 For you have heard of my former conduct in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it. 14 And I advanced in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries in my own nation, being more exceedingly zealous for the traditions of my fathers.
15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, 16 to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood, 17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went to Arabia, and returned again to Damascus.
“Now, I remember, Lord. One of the hardest lessons I ever had to walk through was when I had to break with Christmas traditions that had been handed down to me from my previous generation. Those traditions were beautiful and meaningful at the time, but when the season changed, they were no longer pliable in the new season. In fact, I felt like I was in bondage trying to hold onto to them. It was then I learned that----
When in bondage to a tradition that no longer works,
attitudes and tension erupt, thus
preventing God’s son Jesus from being revealed through us."
Now that my memory had been jarred, the Holy Spirit continued, “That same concept applies now. Christmas is not canceled with your family; only the motel reservations are – make a new tradition!” (UGH)
Jarring me back to the present, I heard Crystal on the line, almost hollering, “Mom, are you there? Are you okay?”
“Oh yes, sweetheart. I’m here. I was just thinking how wonderful it would be to have Christmas in your backyard this year. That is a great idea!”
My friends from around the world, perhaps you have recognized things might also be a little different for you this year in terms of celebrating family Christmas traditions because of COVID Restrictions or for some other reason.
But, the question is, "Are you willing to break with long-held traditions in order to reveal God’s son Jesus through you?"
PSST: I refuse to break with my tradition of cookies and coke for breakfast with the grandkids. (That's the way grandparents roll, don’t you know!!)