Growing up we always had a “traditional” Christmas lunch. Even when dad became a minister mum always seemed to be able to manage to have a roast turkey with roast vegetables as well as ham (usually cold) and occasionally some roast pork to go with it. There was always Christmas pudding to follow (which I have never really liked – which didn’t matter because I was usually so full the best I could manage was a bit of custard or some ice cream).
I was a little shocked at my first Christmas Day with Leanne’s family… their idea of a traditional Christmas lunch was nothing like mine… the turkey was cold for one, no roast vegetables and salads instead… everyone knows you don’t make friends with salad!
When Leanne & I hosted our first Christmas in our first very own (or at least mortgaged) home, we decided to begin a new tradition and decided to cook a seafood feast on the BBQ. Over the last few years Leanne has developed a seafood allergy so we are planning this year for a seafood free Christmas lunch.
Traditions are important and nostalgia can be powerful but if there is no context, no understanding of the origin of the tradition, and no relationship to bind it all together, traditions become just meaningless ritual.
I’m sure the experiences of Christmas traditions within our church are as many and varied as the numbers of people we have coming. This year, I wonder if you are prepared to explore your traditions a little bit deeper.
What is going on in the world today, in your family situation, in your personal journey? Do things need to change or do you need to refine your focus? That is the context of Christmas, Christ being born anew each and every moment of our lives – we get a powerful reminder of each Christmas.
I was reflecting with one of our church members before the Blue Christmas service about how our church has changed and grown in the last 6 years. There has certainly been some change to our Christmas traditions – the time, style and number of our Christmas services has changed. 2020 will provide ‘even more’ opportunities to respond to the needs of our community, ‘even more’ opportunities to deepen our faith, ‘even more’ opportunities do understand, uncover and develop the gifts we have been given… and as such there will be ‘even more’ exploring, adapting, expanding, and changing the things that we have called ‘traditions’.
Thank you for your ministry in our church, whether you realise it or not, you do make a profound difference. You are part of the reason why our church is changing and growing. I pray that you have a happy and holy Christmas. I also pray that you have an opportunity to deepen your relationship with God over this time and approach 2020 with a readiness to serve and be surprised at how much God can and will do in this place.