For Sunday, December 28
It is the tradition of the church that on the first Sunday of Christmas we celebrate Jesus’ dedication in the temple. The dedication would actually have occurred when Jesus was 40 days old, since that would have been the first time Mary, considered unclean after giving birth, would have been allowed in the temple. It was Jewish tradition for the first born son to be dedicated in the temple by their parents. It was also tradition that the mother would provide a sacrifice to God to thank God for the gift of a child. If she had money, she would provide a lamb. If not, then two pigeons or turtledoves would suffice. Mary was a woman of meager means, and Luke tells us that the turtledoves were given.
Which is to say, that, Simeon and Anna didn’t have to worry about whether or not the Messiah would show up in the temple, they only had to worry about when. Tradition dictated that the parents would bring them there.
And so they waited, and depended on the traditions of their lifetime.
Christmas, for so many of us, is a time for traditions. Christmas crackers. Gingerbread cookies. Family gatherings. And the flexibility (or lack thereof) of these traditions is often the source of great turmoil this time of year…
Near where I live, one institution decided not to post some of the same Christmas decorations. Their break from tradition suddenly had them labeled as “enemies of Christmas.” Was it really about those two artificial Christmas trees, or was it about tradition?
What can the church learn from the way in which we handle traditions as a culture?
Have we learned it? Will we learn it? Do we need to learn it?
Or, are you off on another text for this Sunday?
Will you sing carols?
Peace to you-