Tradition…the dictionary defines this word as the transmission of customs or beliefs from generation to generation, or the fact of being passed on in this way. I get so excited this time of the year. It is my favorite time to spend time with family and cram all sorts of extra fun things in. With Thanksgiving next week I have been reminiscing over Thanksgivings past.

Thanksgiving Day has looked different at different times in my life. Before my Dad passed, Thanksgiving was usually just my Mom, Dad, myself and my sister. Sometimes family would come to visit but usually that was saved for Christmas (I like to think they came for my birthday Dec 23rd and not Christmas).  After he passed, we moved to Arkansas where both my Mom and Dad’s families along with Aunts and their families lived, Thanksgiving became a much larger event. We usually went to my Aunt Vicki’s house or my Mom’s parents’ house. There were at least 20 of us. We had turkey, stuffing, giblet gravy, greens beans, corn casserole, rolls, and a plethora or desserts. After my Aunt passed, Thanksgiving traditions changed and there wasn’t as much meaning to the day without her there. She loved hosting and loved Thanksgiving and Christmas.

After I married, Thanksgiving began to grow again, and now we have new traditions. Much of those traditions have stemmed from the ones I had as a child. Some of my favorite traditions that my husband now thinks of as traditions is going to the movies Thanksgiving weekend and decorating the house for Christmas. Driving around looking at Christmas lights. Going to the State Capitol and the Capitol Hotel. Drinking lots of hot cocoa with marshmallows. Watching Christmas movies. Shopping, shopping, and more shopping. And who can forget Christmas caroling.

Traditions help make us who we are. The Church carries a variety of traditions which remind us of who we are. Communion and Baptism are important traditions within the Church. Another tradition is singing praises to God. Some traditions have changed, yet a vital core that is passed from generation to generation help us in our identity. Traditions can change throughout the years but hold the same meanings. What traditions within the Church do you appreciate? How do those traditions help you in your faith? What are some of traditions do you look forward to the most during this holiday season?

Stephanie Dunn

Christian Education Coordinator