The blessing of traditions

Published 6:15 am Wednesday, December 4, 2019

The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.   This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Luke 2:10-12

By Pastor Mike Olmsted

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Westminster Presbyterian Church

This time of year always brings us back to the traditions of our families that we grew up on. For the rest of the year, the idea of tradition is often seen as something that holds us back and limits our freedom and spontaneity. However, during the Christmas season we are drawn back to traditions that we know and love.  Like a warm blanket or a comforting hug, it is our holiday traditions that give us encouragement and direction through an often crowded and sometimes chaotic season.  Our traditions guide our celebrations — what we eat, how we decorate, what family activities we participate in, etc.  In these customs we find the roots and foundations of who we are.  They are a loving reflection of our past lives, but they also are a leading beacon that directs us forward.

Pastor Mike Olmsted, Westminster Presbyterian Church

I love celebrating Christmas traditions that my family has created over the years.  Heading out on a cold winter day to cut down a fresh Christmas tree for our family room, watching the old Christmas shows while decorating our home, joining in family gift exchanges, and sharing in the love of the season through both giving and receiving.  The value of all of these traditions is that they direct us to and remind us of what this season is all about the anticipation of the coming Christ child.  These traditions fill us with the joy of the past, the peace of the present, and the hope of the future. 

As we sing the carols, wrap the presents, and decorate the tree, let us always be reminded that their value is that they bring us back to the reason behind the traditions. They lead us back to the manger to experience the joy of the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It is at the manger that we are filled with the blessing of what Christmas is and what Christmas can be. As the angel heralded to the Shepherds in the field, “I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord,” let our traditions do the same for all of us.  Let all that we do this season lead us back into the presence of our Savior and our Lord.  May our traditions point us forward to the promised Good News of the baby wrapped in cloth and lying in a manger.

This year at Westminster Presbyterian Church, we are building on a new tradition.  We will be hosting our third annual “Festival of the Nativities” on Friday Dec. 6 and Saturday, Dec. 7. Throughout our church you will be able to encounter hundreds of beautiful and varied Nativity scenes. You will also be blessed with Christmas music and carols from many gifted musicians and artists. You will be warmed with tasty treats and refreshments. So join with us as we create a new tradition that welcomes in the everlasting beauty and the true message of this Christmas season. May God bless you and your families this Christmas!