by Jacki Corrigan
Traditions often begin quite innocently. They do not usually begin with the intent of becoming a tradition, yet, at some point, they have the power to take on a life of their own.
Traditions form us; they give us identity and reflect who we are. They give a rhythm to family events and practices. They can be as beautiful as family dinner or as unlikely as a crazy song sung on birthdays.
Recently, a new tradition has taken root between my four-year-old grandson Christopher and me.
When he visits and it comes time to leave, he will walk up to me and say, “Grandma, I have to go home now.”
I always respond, “Oh, don’t go home. I love you and will miss you so much. I will be so sad.”
After a recent visit, in the muddle of goodbyes, I forgot to give my usual goodbye plea. But then, that small voice floated my way as Christopher was leaving: “Grandma, tell me don’t go!”
And, bingo, a new tradition had been hatched and I didn’t see it coming.
We are rapidly approaching that invisible curve in family life where autumn turns into Thanksgiving, followed closely by Advent, which unfolds into Christmas. It is a time where traditions delight us and remind us of times and family that live only in our minds.
Family life is never stagnant; it is always developing and always in a process of letting go. The Thanksgiving holiday and the holy day of Christmas give us pause as we come together at this time of reunion and renewal of our shared bonds of faith, heritage and tradition.
As hectic and intense as this time can sometimes be, the depth of the faith passed down through the generations and the treasure of family are encased in our heart-of-hearts. We hold tight to the faith that guides and sustains us, as it did for our ancestors. We hold tight to the traditions that have shared meaning for those gathered. We often hold on to traditions that we have inherited along with Grandma’s turkey pan.
Traditions create memories that are carved in the heart and mind. They last a lifetime.
We come from a tradition of the Holy Family and, as we embrace the call to be a holy family, we are guided by Christ’s teaching and formed by his word.
What tradition has been passed down from the generations before you? Why do you continue this tradition? What is your family’s most loved tradition? What tradition would you like to initiate and why? What tradition connects your family to Christ?