Christmas Traditions
written by Rev Gary Heard

Each year we unpack our Christmas tree as a family, and adorn it with decorations we have collected from different places we have visited in Australia and around the world. It is a time for recollecting the past – places we have been and people we have met. It is a time for looking back, and weaving our children into the stories of our lives before they were born. It is also a time for them to share, as there are decorations that mark their journeys also. And they bring a new edge to this sharing, an edge of hope and future. “Where will we go? What places and people will emerge into our horizon in the coming year(s).

Our family is creating its own Christmas traditions, ones which enrich the celebrations of the day, and grant new insights into the event which we commemorate. We retell the story of the birth of Jesus, each person raising their questions and sharing their understandings. Each year someone new is found at our Christmas table, and the conversation enriches our celebrations and our lives.

Traditions can be stifling.  The same old routines week-in-week-out, year-on-year. The same old stories trotted out. We spend so much time looking back that we never truly appreciate what is around us and what is to come. But in the words of Picasso “Tradition is not wearing your father’s hat. It’s having a baby!” A good tradition grows out of the old and nurtures something new, something vibrant and growing in its own right.

You may have noticed that we’ve changed our name… West Melbourne Baptist Church has given birth to “The Community of the Eighth Day”, as we move out of the 24/7 routines which stifle life, and into a new week, a new time, with all its new questions and challenges. We’ve learned in many ways that when you choose not to simply go over old ground with the same set of eyes and ears, there are wonderful discoveries to be made and great joy to be shared.

You are welcome to join us in the journey, for as briefly or as long as you wish. We know you’d add something special.
And as you celebrate Christmas in your household, may you know joy and peace for all, both at Christmas, and into the New Year.

December 21, 2003
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