With Thanksgiving behind us and Advent begun, we’ve plunged head-first into “the holidays,” a season full of traditions, both beloved and bothersome. In this Jeremiah passage, the Rechabites are praised for holding to the commandment to abstain from wine that’s been handed down through generation; God’s own people, on the other hand, are judged sternly for their failure to follow the laws God gave them.
We sometimes hold onto holiday traditions as if they were handed down from the Lord – we act like Baby Jesus won’t be born if we don’t make Great-Aunt Martha’s cookies just right, or place the poinsettias just so, or sing all the verses of “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” in the order that we learned them. And yet, most of our traditions don’t matter much to God. God cares, instead, how we treat our neighbors, our enemies, this earth. God wants us to follow God’s laws because when we do that then all our relationships will be in right order. And God sent Jesus to be born among us because even when we’ve fallen away from the teachings and traditions that would give us life, God still will not abandon us to the darkness.
If some of the traditions aren’t shaping up just right for this year, breathe deep and remember that their absence won’t keep Christ from coming. And in the traditions you keep, may you know that each one is an invitation to remember the Love that held our ancestors, and holds us still today.
Reflection: Think of a holiday tradition of yours and of the people who taught you that tradition. Give thanks for what was handed on to you and pray that this year, Christ is born anew in that tradition.
The Rev. Hope E. A. Molozaiy is the pastor of The Community Church of Richmond, United Church of Christ, in Richmond, IL, and always a mom.
©2019 by individual authors and Facebook Narrative Lectionary Group. This work is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.