Do Your Traditions Reflect Who You Are?

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{“I didn’t grow up with the tradition of Advent. One December, when our children were younger we participated in our church’s Advent services. We lit candles, one each week, and shared thoughts on Hope, Peace, Joy and Love. It became a beautiful, meaningful tradition for our family, one we chose to continue in our home each year. Sometimes our traditions become just that — traditions. Actions and words whose living meaning and life changing value have been set aside, replaced by duty or necessity,  grown cold and misunderstood  with seasons and age. It’s time to pick them up again.

Advent literally means: The coming or arrival, especially of something extremely important.  It’s time to look to the coming of Emmanuel and what it means for transforming our lives and fulfilling a plan of redemption that began in a stable….

  It’s time to journey to Bethlehem! Imagine we’re travelling together to Bethlehem, each carrying a light. Older ones helping the younger, in expectation of Emmanuel’s coming. I’m envisioning a ribbon of light, the illumination of God’s redeeming, transforming work in our lives, and I am hearing the words of Isaiah:

“The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine.” }

~Excerpt from the introduction “Walking to Bethlehem”


Traditions. We have things, plans, ideas, that are born of traditions, in our families and our lives… This week in our Christmas in July celebration our topic is traditions. In our home, our traditions have changed, sometimes drastically, due to location, landscape, grief, or season of life. The key thing I’ve come to realize, is that it doesn’t have to be Hallmark to be a tradition. If you struggle with traditions and how they need to look can I relieve you of that burden right now?


Every year on Christmas eve we have Chinese food, on festive paper plates. Afterwards, we light the last advent candles, read the wonderful birth story in Luke, sing a carol and hang up stockings. I used to carry a lot of expectations of what the table should look like, how elaborate the food needed to be, how formal our advent reading needed to be and so on… and I put those expectations on everyone else(and yes, that’s wrong) And the night never quite lived up to my expectations, so it was always stressful!

One year all four of the kids had the stomach flu just a few days before the 25th of December(delightful.) On Christmas eve, I didn’t want to cook, or clean, and no one wanted too much to eat. So…(are you ready?) We had McDonald’s. Yep. I wish I had pictures. It was the year I began to question where my expectations were coming from, and who I was striving to please(this took a few years) Each year after that, we re-evaluated, until we settled into traditions that are “us” They reflect who we are, honestly. And with them we remind each other what’s important. And that friends is the key. You may be horrified by our traditions, and we’re ok with that because they belong to us! Your traditions shouldn’t reflect anyone else… they are uniquely yours.

What does it look like at your house? How do your traditions reflect who you are? What’s the rhythm that helps you focus on who He is in your holiday, not what others expect you to be?

This week, the lovely Loretta has a post for us about traditions (on Wednesday) and I have a great cookie idea for tomorrow.  All of this is pre-scheduled to magically appear for you as I will be away here:


And there is no internet service!

I plan to read, read, read, and write, write, write, and fish (sigh)!

Blessings on your week Friends!



  1. Wow! Magical where you are going Katharine. That picture is pure bliss, bless..
    I thought later to offer you a service that I found especially sincere and helpful in the past and will send that to you asap at this comment section.

  2. 🙂 <3 HUGS to you. We have a Chinese food tradition here as well, but it is on the night we decorate the tree. We sit and watch a Christmas movie with all the lights off but those on the tree :).