Happy Monday, Friends!
For the last 62 years the University of the South and the Sewanee, TN, community has gathered in early December for the Service of Lessons and Carols. As a University Chorister I sang in that service all four years I was at Sewanee. It is a service involving a significant level of pageantry and tradition. After the 2020 service was conducted remotely because of the pandemic, the 2021 service was both joyous and marked by restraint. While I could not be in Sewanee for Lessons and Carols this year, I was fortunate to watch the service live, an unexpected treat provided by the pandemic. As someone invested in the service, the music, and the tradition I noted a return to older traditions—the inclusion of the larger Sewanee community in the service—and changes—a different and contemporary translation of the readings.
The Christmas season is loaded with traditions: family traditions, church traditions, and secular traditions. Traditions connect us with the past and help us order our thoughts about the future. Traditions can be a force for good, but traditions can also make us complacent. How many times have we heard in life and business, “That’s how we’ve always done things!” Maintaining traditions for the sake of maintaining traditions leads us in a circle. Recognizing traditions and either reframing or setting them aside allows us to move forward.
What traditions do you love? What traditions hold you back?
Let us pray: God uphold our best traditions and grant us the wisdom to lay aside our worst traditions. Where tradition supports us give us the grace to promote it. Where tradition holds us back help us to recognize its power and break its hold on us. We pray this in the name of Jesus, who came to us on Christmas that we might have life freed from our bonds to sin and the traditions of our condition. Amen.
Blessings, friends, on your week! Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you.