Open your Bible and read Luke 5.
Christmas is a time of tradition. Everyone has their own traditions, but many traditions are also cultural.
For our family, this year is one of starting new traditions and letting go of old ones.
Our daughter got married this year, so it’s the first Christmas she must divide her time between two families. And she and her husband want to start their own traditions too. So we won’t be celebrating as a family on our traditional dates, and that’s okay.
Sometimes change is right and good. Sometimes it’s time to give up on tradition.
There is a time and place for tradition, but as followers of Jesus Christ, we must keep tradition in perspective. Our primary calling is to love (Matthew 22:34-40). If tradition gets in the way of loving others well, it’s time to rethink the tradition.
In today’s reading, the religious leaders are upset because Jesus and His disciples are not keeping tradition (v. 33). While the rest of the Jews are fasting (during the traditional time), Jesus and His disciples are feasting.
But Jesus reminded them that it was time to forego tradition. There was a good reason they were feasting instead of fasting. It was good and right for them to spend time in fellowship with food because the time the disciples had with Jesus was short.
Until that point, the Jews connected with God only by attempting to keep the Law. Many of their traditions came from their interpretation of the Law. For some, it was legitimate worship, but for others, it was simply self-righteous legalism.
But Jesus came to change things, to do a new thing. He came to fulfill the Law (Matthew 5:17). He came because of Love (John 3:16, Romans 5:8, 1 John 4:16). It’s all about relationship. God wants a personal relationship with you and me.
If that’s not cause for joy and celebration, I don’t know what is!
This story reminds me that “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven (Ecclesiastes 3:1, ESV)…” Even some traditions may be just for a season.
When we find ourselves facing the possibility of change – welcome or not – we must consider that this might be a God-ordained “new thing”. As Jesus implied, sometimes the old doesn’t fit anymore.
Our family had a choice this year. We could make a big stink about wanting to keep our traditions and celebrate on our usual days. Or we could decide to make new traditions and value peaceful relationships over a date on the calendar.
Relationships are more important than traditions.
The great thing about God’s “new things” is that they’re always far better than the old things!
“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it (Isaiah 43:18-19, ESV)?”
Tomorrow’s reading in Luke 6 continues with this theme (Luke 6:1-11).
Our God is a God of mercy. His rules (the Law) were meant to help, not hurt.
It’s easy to allow rules to become greater than our relationship with the Rulemaker.