The snow is dancing in the air like soft kisses being blown down from heaven... it is beautiful and there is always such a gentleness that slows me down when I peek out the window to glimpse the mood on such days. The sun is hiding behind a grayish-white sky creating an illusion that the treeline rests against a seamless blend of earth and sky.
Ah, God's masterpieces never cease to take my breath away! To craft such beauty so effortlessly must be a testament to His endless beauty! How I look forward to behold all that He is someday.
And with that feeling in my heart today, I am asking myself a heavy question that blankets my thoughts much the same as the snow blankets the ground around me... "what traditions do I want to pass down to my children?" It is so simple to find comfort in the traditions I have always known: birthdays, Sunday mass, Reveillon (french catholic tradition on Christmas eve) and Christmas itself, etc... The natural instinct is to just keep doing what I have always done. No questions asked.
But therein lies a dilemma.
Traditions are essentially a gift passed down from our parents to us, etc... They are so easy to accept especially when nostalgia leads us away from examining in greater depth with discernment whether or not that "gift" serves ourselves or if it serves God. So many of our childhood memories are wrapped around them like candy wrappers! Not to mention, we trust that what is given us from those whom we love... is good, right?
Nearly four years ago, my husband planted a seed in my mind (and it was NOT well received). He asked me if I knew the origin of the Christmas tradition. In all honesty, I did not, nor did I care. Regardless of where it came from, what mattered was its significance to me and my intentions today. I figured that God knew my heart and if Christmas was a beautiful time of year for me (being generous, thoughtful and family-oriented) than surely this was pleasing to Him.
Not to mention there were so many theories on the origin of Christmas, that rather than tie myself to one of them, I wanted to focus on what it had become for me personally.
But it was enough of a seed that doubt was planted and I began to move away from what felt warm and good into a place of responsibility, whether I wanted it or not. After all, I am responsible for teaching my own children what they in turn will pass down to their children and their children's children. One of those teachings will be to question what even I hand to them as my understanding of truth. As parents, Duane and I want to do our best in teaching them what we believe is asked of us by God but in the end, I pray that our children will learn these things for themselves, challenge it and solidify it beyond mere "tradition" by the truth they will have discovered for themselves. No differently than we can tell them about faith and God, but until they experience Him for themselves, it will remain only words of wisdom.
And perhaps through their own seeking and challenging, they will discover something we have missed. Because where/if we are wrong... WE WANT TO KNOW! If we are wrong, then we want to delve further in our research and understanding so that we can change or grow closer to His truth. I always thought that I welcomed challenge as this was my opportunity to discover if what I believed could stand up to it. And if it couldn't, how then could I stand firm on a belief that could not stand on its own two legs?
Yet here I was four years ago, enraged that Duane would dare to challenge such a feel-good tradition that I believed honoured the birth of our Jesus Christ! I wanted my Christmas tree and decorations... the little hand-made ones that Melina made when she was just little. The tiny porcelain slippers for "Baby's first Christmas" that marked a milestone for Melina and Isabel! I wanted the feel-good gifts under the tree and the delight in my children's eyes when they saw all those beautifully wrapped boxes and the mysteries contained therein.
I wanted... I wanted... I wanted...
And only this year have I gasped at my own reluctance in realizing my motivation had nothing to do with serving God... but rather my own desires. How grotesquely humbling!!! That I dared hide behind the excuse that "God knows my heart and that's what matters" and "that's not what it means to me." Oh dear Father in Heaven... all of these statements revolve around ME!
So I have willingly (and oh so humbly) done a little more delving using the bible as the reference tool. And boy oh boy a whole new world feels revealed! The video that impacted me the most was done by Michael Rood and I invite you (yes, even the reluctant) to view it and leave any feedback that would challenge it or defend it. I want my eyes opened completely, so if you see/hear/know something in this video that does NOT align with scripture or historical facts, PLEASE LET ME KNOW!
Remember that this is our own family's journey and by no means do we hold ourselves up above anyone else. We have been humbled over and over again on this journey which has revealed to us not to be so cocky in our beliefs! Because all too quickly, new facts can emerge that bring us right back to the "drawing board" so-to-speak. Just know that I believe strongly in sharing my own heart with you all, whether we agree or disagree. To share with you the stirrings in my heart that pull me in different directions... and my goals as a mother to decipher all of this in hopes of handing something down to my children that can make sense to them.
May the Lord bless and keep you this day as your thoughts wander back to the values you have or are instilling in your own children or those around you. It is a humbling task!! And I pray you are uplifted in it and may the traditions that come forth from you be beautiful and bring glory to God! Much love to all of you out there, and God's richest blessings your way!! Thank you for being witness to my family's journey!