Tradition. Such a simple word, but packed so full. Full of hope, expectation and promise. Memories and fellowship.

There are familiar traditions that go with calendar dates that folks as a whole carry on. Fresh picked flowers on headstones on Decoration Day, a picnic on the 4th of July, a trip to the tree farm on the first Saturday in December. We follow our traditions in an effort to stay connected to family and friends. When we get together to share our time and our stories, these remembered times can become tradition, having had so much fun, we part with the words, “Let’s do this again next year!” A new tradition is born. There can be traditions, singular to a particular soul, not followed by the rest. A walk along the river in springtime. A hand brushed across the weathered, sagging fence of a forgotten cemetery. Tradition truly is a matter of and for the heart. It can be ‘set in stone’ or fluid as a stream. Adding new ideas to old ways can invigorate a tradition before it wears out or becomes stagnate. And yes, sadly, sometimes we lose the things we once held dear. Perhaps we were too busy one year and then the next and then… the loss of tradition can be so gradual, you hardly know you missed it until one foggy morning, a memory pops up and, “Hey! How come we don’t… anymore?” Kids, who loved a tradition grow up, old folks who cultivated the tradition die. And what are we left with? The ghost of Christmas past? The echo of numbers chanted out loud as a forehead is pressed against the tree trunk, eyes squeezed shut; “…7,8,9,10- ready or not, here I come!” Who will carry on, I wonder? And then, the answer is there in the grin and giggle of the four year old. She will carry the traditions, some of mine mixed in with hers that she will create and hone as she grows up.

Traditions. I know mine so well and tend them as a bed of roses. I will share them to my last days and whisper them on the wind when I am gone. Perhaps someday, when she’s a sixty-four year old grammie, enjoying her coffee on a quiet Sunday morning, a memory will pop up and she will smile. “Oh yes! I remember~”

Tradition. Such a simple word.

Peace. Love. Amen.