Traditions Are Important by Sr. Teresa Tuite, OP
If you are familiar with the musical Fiddler on the Roof, you may remember hearing the main character, Tevy, singing, “Tradition! Tradition!” Traditions are so important in our lives. They are like threads that weave in and through our lives creating a strong pattern that serves as connectors to our past, present and offers hope for our future. We each have a need and a desire to be part of something bigger than ourselves. We see that desire manifested in the surging interest in Ancestry.com and DNA research. We have seen what happens when those connections have been threatened or altered, as they have been since COVID-19. We want to feel that we belong. We want to feel connected to others.
Traditions do that for us; they also give us a sense of security, comfort, and history. They are like multiple tiny anchors that keep us grounded with each other. We have many traditions – religious, cultural, local, ethnic, and family. Some are silly, some profound, some we have forgotten why we do them but we keep on doing them anyway. They may include traditional prayers, foods, practices, songs, etc. Traditions change as families grow and change. Each new family tries to bring a piece of their past and blend it into and with their new family’s character and flavor. Each time the strands of connection are not broken, they grow even stronger. They widen the circle of love and connection. Traditions may look a little differently as time goes on but the intention and power are there. We belong. We are connected. Traditions also have another meaning. They give each of us a purpose, by entrusting a piece of our inheritance to safeguard and nourish and when it is time, to pass that piece on to the next generation – “and the beat goes on!”
We may not be able to do all of our usual traditions this Christmas in the way we would like but we are creative enough and we will find a way to connect to each other. For that is the oldest tradition of Christmas —a time when the hopes and fears of all the years are met once again in the birth of the Christ Child, giving us the most awesome sign that we are one and connected to each other.