Monday, December 18, 2006

I had to go past the first three definitions of
"tradition" to get to the one I usually mean when
I use the word. That is interesting. The first
meaning listed is an obsolete one and is: a
surrender or betrayal. But, this is a rabbit
trail and not at all what was first intended when
I began this post. Dictionaries are dangerous in
such ways.

When I use the word I use it the way the fourth
definition lists it.

Tradition-n. (a surrender, delivery, tradition).
4. a long-established custom or practice having
the effect of precedent or unwritten law.

Traditions are comforting. They let you know where
you stand and what is expected of you. They can
enter with you into the unfamiliar and keep you
stayed because you have a familiar routine to be
repeated. They help define you.

And yet, traditions are fluid, they must be, if not
we would still be living as our parents did 6000
years ago. Change is not bad. Of course, it is not
always good either. Change is amoral, it is the
what and the how things are changing that is either
bad or good.

There are many things that were tradition at one time
in my family's life that no longer are. And there
are traditions that were unknown years ago that have
come to be. How, with the adding of people into the
family and the loss of others could this not be? How,
with movings and growings up and growings old could
things always stay the same?

One tradition that has come to be with my children is
a Christmas one. Every year when they were younger
I very carefully chose an ornament to give each one of
them. These were intended to be the beginning of their
own collection when they were grown and on their own.
No longer do I do this. It is not because I don't like
ornaments, nor is it that I am against decorating for the
holidays. It is because I don't need to. They each
have an ornament collection that is out of this world.
Well, maybe not exactly out of this world, but it is
definitely a world ornament collection.

My Father and Mother-in-law do a lot of traveling, and
it is their tradition, wherever they go, to buy an
ornament for each of their grandchildren. My children
have ornaments from Russia, Sweden, Denmark, Finland,
Estonia, Norway, France, Spain, Ireland, England, Italy,
Germany, Canada, Mexico, Poland, and many of the states
in the US. You can always tell how much traveling they
did during the year by the number of ornments the grand-
kids receive. Last year each one got 10 or so. This
year they each received only one; it is a beautiful
little drum from Williamsburg,VA.

I love hanging their ornaments every year. It is a
reminder that the gospel is for the whole world not
just my little corner of it.

However, this year, with our little tree, and the huge
number of ornaments, over 2/3 had to stay packed away.
I guess that is the start of a new tradition; we'll have
to rotate using the ornaments until my children are
grown and move out taking their ornaments with them.
Then once again both they and we will have to start
building a new tradition.


Dana said...

I enjoyed this entry. I think it is interesting that the word "tradition" comes from Latin, "tradere," or "to hand over." It makes sense...we deliver or hand over certain ways of doing things. But at the same time, as the recipient of these things, we must sometimes analyze them and not cling so tightly to them that we raise them to a status they shouldn't achieve.

Billy and Jenn said...

I think Christmas traditions are the best. To me it just heightens the fact that we need to spend time with family a little more and having traditions ensures that.

Laurie said...

Dana-I agree 100%. Traditions must not become our all in all.

Jenn-Family time is the best.

Tammy said...

Yes...great point, Laurie. Traditions are important but they are to be "fluid". I like that!

And how great for your kids that they have such wonderful ornaments from all over the world!

e-Mom said...

I can just imagine that Williamsburg drum... and all the rest of the ornaments from around the world. What a treasure!

Lol, OK I'll admit it... Christmas traditions sometimes bore me. I like to inject new items into the menu, add new faces to the table and so on. I suppose that's a function of my creative side. OK, so I'm a little odd! :~)

Laurie said...

e-mom, I like your kind of odd. You should have seen the looks on the faces a few years ago when I changed the extended family's Thanksgiving recipe for sweet potato casserole. I've never been asked to bring it since.