The Red Boxes

1 Corinthians 11:2 – I praise you for remembering me in everything and for holding to the traditions just as I passed them on to you. (NIV)

Tradition has a way of finding a place in many of the seasonal events in which we participate. In our family though, Christmas seems to have quite a few — from the trimming of the tree, to the Christmas dishes I set the table with, and the candle that is lit in remembrance of family who have gone home to be with Jesus.

The red boxes, though, have always been one of anticipation and challenge at times. These boxes are carefully put away each year, but are brought out and used for only one evening: Christmas Eve. Preparation for these boxes begins in late October or early November. At that time, I begin to search and source out the contents for these boxes. I have been doing this tradition since the first Christmas we had children, and my parents did it for us growing up. I am certain that some readers will also have a tradition similar to this: the tradition of new pyjamas. This year, though, it's now the beginning of December and the boxes remain empty. I have yet to purchase the pyjamas; I have even contemplated not following tradition — after all, the boys are now men!

Why do we do it, and just what is tradition? The Bible speaks of tradition in a few places, and in fact, the word comes in the form of a warning to us.

Matthew 15:1-3 – Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked, "Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don't wash their hands before they eat!" Jesus replied, "And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition." (NIV)

We need to be careful that we don't get caught up in tradition and forget that Jesus is the reason for the season. So while we go about shopping and decorating, let's step out in faith and share with someone the birth of Christ and either start a new tradition or build on an existing tradition of showing the light of Jesus into a dark world this season.

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank You that You came as flesh and were born as a baby so that we may have eternal life with You. We thank You for traditions, and it's our prayer that You will be front and foremost in all of them. We come to You in anticipation of the boldness that You will give us this Christmas season. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.

Julie Bowles