Why We Should All Be Like Texans in Our Traditions

Every friend of mine from the state of Texas knows I like to dig at their state just about every chance I get. In fact, every one from Texas who just read the last line noticed “great” was missing from “the great state of Texas.” In my orneriness I just can’t help but pick, pick, pick on Texans because of all their great pride. Pride over their history, pride over the required state history course in school, pride over the economy of Texans, the demographics, sports teams – even their littering slogan causes great pride. “Don’t Mess with Texas.”

I admire someone who makes great effort in their love of a thing by pursuing knowledge and education of their object of affection. In this respect, we all should be like Texans (I’m never going to live this down) in how we approach our traditions.

 6. Traditions should strengthen our knowledge of history:

After you clear the initial obstacles in the way of doing traditions well, this perhaps is the greatest struggle we will engage in year in and year out. It is the struggle of laziness and it surfaces here first. Because you have to work at getting your history right. You have to remind yourself and you have to continue to dig deeper and grow more and learn to appreciate more and more the lessons of history that are presented in your tradition.

To make this point I want you to do a little exercise. First, write down everything you know about the state you lived in as a child. Second, call a friend raised in Texas and ask him to tell you everything he knows about Texas. Third, try to keep up with him as you make the list. Fourth, compare the lists. Fifth, realize the point. There is an immeasurable difference in having some type of common place pride over a thing and having a deep pride for a thing due to your love for it. Our traditions should reflect our deep love and our pride as reflected in our constant growth in the knowledge of our history. We are people of history; we should live like people of history.

 Psalm 78:4  has this thought in mind when it instructs us in this vein, “We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might, and the wonders that he has done.” The whole psalm is worth reading in this regard.

 7. Traditions should strengthen our sense of belonging:

It should be evident how closely these points relate to one another. For example, having an identity has in it a knowledge of history and a knowledge of history should help form your identity, because in part it strengths our sense of belonging, just as identity does the same.

When we know our historical roots we know our place. There is a place for us and that it is not haphazard, random, or by chance. People are not mistakes, we are not a virus or a plague to this planet, but again that would be something that your traditions should already inform. If Christmas and Easter are historical events as we purport are these not some of the implications? Engage your traditions long enough and you will find these subjects abound. You might be surprised at how soon they surface.

Belonging is not just on a grandiose scale, but also includes stories that go with birthdays, for example. Taking the time to remember these significant days with family members reinforces their place in your life – and your place in their life.

Of course, the danger in this point in our culture is that family events in the holidays seem to wreak havoc on the holidays, holding our traditions hostage to a variety of family gatherings of little substance that leave no room to sit and ponder such mighty things – as we should. As the saying goes, “don’t throw out the baby with the bath water.” This example brings this point of belonging to its crux. Why do we belong as it relates to Christmas? Why do we belong as it relates to Easter? Is it pretty dresses, presents, ham and wine? Or is there deeper sense to whom we belong and why we belong? These are some questions we should deal with as we evaluate our traditions.

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