I enjoy the last few months of the year for a variety of reasons. I enjoy being outdoors, hunting, shooting and playing golf, and the more mild temperatures of autumn make outdoor activities so much more enjoyable. I love the smell of a fire and the colors of the leaves as they change. I enjoy Thanksgiving and the reminder of how blessed we have been the past year and how I should be thankful for God’s bounty every day! I enjoy relaxing and spending time with family and friends. I love Christmas time, the tree, the lights, THE PRESENTS! But most of all I enjoy the traditions.
Some traditions have been around long before any of us where here. Cookies left out for Santa come to mind as a particular favorite. Some times we begin new traditions and build memories that last for ages to come.
As Christians though I think we should keep in mind that traditions can be bad as well as good. Traditions are bad when they violate scripture. Just because we have always done something (as a church, in our families, or personally) does not mean that it is acceptable to God. Remember that everything that we say or do should be done with authority from Christ and with thanksgiving (Colossians 3:17).
Traditions can be bad if we bind them as law, or when we reject the law of God to hold on to them. This was a major problem with the first century Jews. Jesus said, “But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Matthew 15:9). He also told them, “Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition” (Mark 7:9).
But traditions are great things when kept in harmony with God’s Law. Paul said, “Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle” (2 Thessalonians 2:15). Now of course by traditions here Paul was referring to keeping (practicing) the law (teaching) that had been passed on from God to us all. Isn’t that what faithful brethren are trying to do every day?
During this holiday season may we all strive to keep the law of Christ and not allow traditions to violate our calling. Also, pray for the strength to teach and help others to do the same. Remember, “… ye were redeemed, not with corruptible things, with silver or gold, from your vain manner of life handed down from your fathers;” (1 Peter 1:18).