Tradition or Truth?
Christmas is full of traditions, some of them fun and some of them down right weird. The UK website 'holidayextras.co.uk', lists their top ten alternative ideas for Christmas including naked saunas in Finland in memory of the ancestors and Bad Santa in Austria "in search of badly-behaved children". But my favorite is the Ukraine's tradition of decorating their trees with imitations of the spider's web, shimmering with dew. The tradition goes back to a folktale about a poor widow who could not afford other decorations and the house spiders took pity on the family and spun beautiful webs all over the tree. In other cultures the spider's web is a sign of neglect, of something that has been left to rot or is past usefulness, broken, dead. Something that in our lives is often picked up and taken outside, the spider, and their webs brushed away, becomes in this tradition the provider of beauty and joy.
And that is the real truth behind the Christmas story. A baby, a little boy, born to an unmarried mother and who society considered an outcast, born to be King and yet hated by the powers and authorities and hunted down to be killed. The truth about this baby however is so so different. The evidence of history is overwhelming in explaining that this baby was promised a long time before, had been watched for and expected by the Jewish people, He was their Messiah. Many had lived lives in anticipation of God sending Him to the world, for some it had become tradition but for others it was a real live faith, a powerful hope.
Many live this way still today and for them it is the truth of Christmas that is far more important that the traditions. Yes we will still sing carols and give presents; and get some too we hope! We will probably share a big meal together and listen to our favorite music and watch some TV. But for many of us the most important tradition that we will do again this year is to read our Bibles and spend some time studying the eyewitness accounts of that Baby. We will look into this truth carefully, we will expect to hear God Himself to remind us of something we have forgotten and teach us something new.
This year we are looking at the account of Jesus' birth written by Luke and we expect to hear Mary's song of joy as she visit's her relative Elizabeth and find that they are both miraculously pregnant; we will hear about the smelly Shepherds and their Angelic visitors and we will hear about those who met the babe and whose lives were changed.
So what about you? Will this Christmas be just another traipsing through the old traditions? Maybe you've realized they don't really offer anything and you're planning to change some of them to see if you can have a better Christmas? There is one cast-iron guaranteed way to really enjoy Christmas this year and that is to get at the truth. Join us any Sunday in Advent at Trinity and share the joy and wonder as we read again the history, the truth of this event we celebrate.
It doesn't matter if you haven't been to church for a while, or ever before, we will do everything we can to make you welcome; indeed our 5 pm evening service is just for you! You could join us on the 1st December in the Ironside Walk Ballroom for our Advent Carols, or on the 22nd for a Family Nativity (10:30 am) or Carols by Candlelight (5 pm). Services last between 60 & 90 minutes and refreshments follow. More information on Sunday Services and all our activities can be found on this site.