Tradition!! Wonderful memory or millstone? Is it, “Oh, thank goodness Aunt Delilah brought her persimmon pie!” or, “Oh, no! Aunt Delilah’s getting out of her car and she’s got her PERSIMMON PIE!!!”
Caroline Kennedy says, of family traditions and memories, “Those memories, good and bad, are really what help to keep a family together over the long haul.” In the movie, milkman Tevye says that, “without traditions, our lives would be as shaky as a fiddler on the roof.” Other folks think traditions are silly and out-dated.<
And I caution parents of young children to be careful, at any holiday, about doing something two years in a row, because, in their children’s eyes (and hearts), it will have become “But we always … ” (fill in the blank) “cut down our own tree at Christmas,” “all dress up the same for Halloween,” “have mashed potatoes with peas at Thanksgiving,” “get a brand-new Bible at Easter,” (how many Bibles do you need, honey?), and/or “have a flag cake for July 4th.” One year my mother was unhappy with me for putting almond flavoring in the holiday pecan pie instead of vanilla flavoring. Really. Truly.
In 1960, after we’d lived in our new house for a little more than a year, we must have had a special July 4th lunch with neighbors or friends. Mother’s contribution was dessert and she made a white sheet cake and decorated it to look exactly like a flag. She used a toothpick to draw out the exact number of stripes to fill in with white and red frosting. she made 50 little blobs of white to be the stars on the field of blue. And everyone oohed and awed, and there you go–a tradition, after only one go-round. Over the years, she perfected her techniques (applying red and blue food coloring onto white frosting with a small paintbrush, making those fifty little white blobs on a sheet of waxed paper and letting them dry before placing them on the blue part).
At some point, I took over the cake preparation, and, some years, I hand it on down to my own kids (in-laws included).
And, of course, being who we are, there are photographs.
Six days before Passover, Jesus entered Bethany where Lazarus, so recently raised from the dead, was living. Lazarus and his sisters invited Jesus to dinner at their home. Martha served. Lazarus was one of those sitting at the table with them.
The Bible has lots of stories about people having meals. Eating together is a great way of handing down traditions, whether it’s what you serve and eat for special occasions, or what dinnerware and linens you use for those meals. Or what you talk about and pray about and laugh about.