Lord's Day Liturgy

What Good Traditions Are For

We continue to consider #NoDisorderedContentmentDecember. There is a kind of contentment we can have, or think we should have, that is not enough. We can be satisfied at a lesser level than the right level.

Consider this example: Jesus taught that the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath (Mark 2:27). In Israel, the Sabbath was law. Stopping work on the seventh-day was required. Sabbath breakers were judged, and Sabbath law required capital punishment (Exodus 32:5).

But there were Sabbath extras added in the culture over the generations, and even if we give the benefit of the doubt that they were created with the best of intentions, the best intentions became a weapon, often bringing harm not happiness. Many became content to remember the limitations, but not to remember the Lord’s blessings.

We do not have any divine laws that require certain activities of us during Advent/Christmas. We have freedom to celebrate, and there are some activities that are good, profitable, and even wise for passing on our joy to another generation. We are for good and repeated activities. But it is totally possible to act like our kids/families are for Christmas traditions rather than that traditions are for our kids/families.

When those traditions are threatened, some of the organizers act threatened. They are tempted to discontentment that the “Thing” didn’t go as arranged. Maybe that’s a problem. But were you in fellowship with your people? Did your response to the “Thing” increase fellowship, or were you content letting everyone else know how disappointed you were?

Don’t be “the sort of woman who lives for others—you can always tell the others by their hunted expression” (as C.S. Lewis described in The Screwtape Letters). Let the contentment be in love shared through events, not love of events over people. The Lord wants hearts that offer sacrifices, not those who are content with on-time but actually unthankful offerings (Psalm 50:8, 14).