December 7, 2018
by Candace Kostna, Family Ministry Coordinator
Our lives are filled with rituals and traditions – our regular patterns of behavior that occur daily, weekly and seasonally. The familiarity and rhythm of what we do assure us all is well. These experiences connect us with each other and remind us of who we are and what we believe. Through our own family rituals and traditions, we share our history, our beliefs, our hopes and dreams and how we value our faith.
We are now in the season of Advent, a time of waiting and preparing. Our experiences as a faith community include Advent readings and candle lighting, singing familiar hymns, using the Advent banner and blue altar cloths in our worship services. We put up our Christmas tree decorated with Chrismons, we have a Choir Cantata, we collect food and gifts for Christmas hampers and have Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services in anticipation of Jesus’ birth at Christmas. All of these activities – filled with hope, peace, love and joy – have meaning to us and communicate our faith community’s values and relationships with each other and God.
Think about your family’s rituals and traditions at this time of year. How did they start? From your parents? Your grandparents? Why do you value them? How do you share them with your children? Your grandchildren? How have these experiences shaped your faith?
Rituals and traditions are not limited to certain times of the year or worship by any means. Our daily family life is filled with messages and indicators that shape our faith. These may include:
- mealtime & bedtime rituals
- greeting each other as we leave for work & school and upon our return home
- celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, and special achievements
- including church year rituals at home such as Advent and Lent;
- recognizing milestones such as birthdays baptism anniversaries, first day of school and graduations
While rituals and traditions extend across generations, they are not stagnant. They evolve over time, just as we do through our faith experiences. We are shaped by the people we encounter, by the changes in society that we see and God’s voice in our lives. As we embrace this evolution, and are attentive to the meaning and value of what we do, our rituals and traditions are opportunities to pass on our faith.
Together we grow in faith!