Like the Fiddler on the Roof, I love tradition but it doesn’t carry the same punch it used to. Maybe it’s because we want to make new traditions that fit our lifestyle and some of the old ways are nothing more than old-fashioned.
Did you know that the practice of having a Christmas tree was first started in the 16th century? The beautiful fir trees that lined the forests of Germany looked like God had sprinkled glitter all over them. The people often hung apples on them as a reminder of the Tree of Life. They also added lit candles to depict the Light of the World.
I have memories of going to the woods to cut down a tree. We’d bundle the kids up so they could barely move. We trudged through deep snow and since my husband has an eye for perfection, we had to find just the right tree. He then would take out his axe and begin chopping. This is where the fun began. The kids loved the idea of cutting down a tree each year, but the tradition died after a while. Like many traditions, they simply don’t fit our lifestyle anymore. What should’ve been a fun event, often turned extremely cold. The thought of hot chocolate soon replaced that annual event.
I also remember making fresh egg nog for my family during the holidays. It was made from fresh, raw eggs – cream, sugar and nutmeg. Occasionally the adults would add a bit of brandy to spice it up. That doesn’t happen now, because of the danger of salmonella poisoning. I’m really surprised I’ve lived so long.
Traditions come and go, but the message of the season should never be clouded by a change in our lifestyle. Jesus came to us at Christmas. He was born of a virgin – conceived by God Himself – became our brother. That isn’t tradition. It’s a fact and one that will never change.
As we come to the end of the advent season, let’s take time to look at some of the old-fashioned traditions, but not forget the One that never goes out of style – JESUS!