As we approach a new holiday season, about 40 days long, I am thinking about traditions. Where do we meet to celebrate? What days do we pick for each family’s gathering?

And what happens when your lynchpin of those gatherings is no longer there to bring everyone together?

I saw Fiddler On the Roof several years ago onstage, and have watched the movie a few times. The opening montage is great, with the narrator speaking and singing of “TRADITION!!”  and showing and telling of the things that are expected and how to keep your balance.  How do you stay on the roof?  Balance with tradition!  He says, “Because of our traditions, we’ve kept our balance for many, many years.”

The narrator goes on to describe some traditions, and says he doesn’t know why they do them but they do.   Then he says this line:

“Because of tradition, everyone of us knows who he is and what God expects us to do.”

So I started thinking about this song as we approach the first Holiday season without the Patriarchs of our family.  Here is what Fiddler has to say about the “Papas”:

Who, day and night, must scramble for a living,
Feed a wife and children, say his daily prayers?
And who has the right, as master of the house,
To have the final word at home?

The Papa, the Papa! Tradition.
The Papa, the Papa! Tradition.

The Papa.  Hubs and I have both lost our Papa, the lynchpins,  this year, and now we begin to learn how to celebrate without them.  And we are not the only ones with a new learning curve.

So how do we do tradition now?

I have some experience at this. Dad has not been a part of our family celebration for about 3 years, but we kept up the “tradition” of getting together with my family on Christmas Eve and being with Hub’s family on Christmas Day, which has worked really well the last 15 years.

This year…oh, this year, we are adrift. Our traditions have been rendered ineffective and the Papas who had the final word are no longer able to speak.

I am beginning to understand why some people so dislike the holidays.

As we try to figure out what we are going to do for the holidays and where we will be, I just remember that I am blessed to have my people who are still here.

Traditions are important, but don’t always last.

So we are making new traditions this year. We have a new baby in the family, and she has been a bright spot for us. We are still alive, which is always a plus.

After my stroke in January, I am grateful that I am able to continue my traditions without physical help from someone else.

I took my birth mom home from surgery and she was greeted at her door by her cute cats…I was greeted, when I got home, by my beautiful sons and husband, and that is one tradition that I will never get tired of.

So here’s the deal….

If you still have your mom, dad, grandparents, kids, friends to create traditions with, DO IT.

If you can hug someone, and tell them that you love them, DO IT.

If you can spend time with someone you love, DO IT.

And if you can’t…create a new Tradition. There is always someone who needs a hug, love and time out there. “What you do unto the least of these, you do unto ME”, Jesus said. Do it!!

Some would say that traditions are made to be broken.  This year, we are breaking new ground, and I am going to do it to honor those who have gone on before us.  I am going to pray that God allows me opportunities to bless those who aren’t as blessed as I am, and I am going to try to spend my minutes being glad that I am still here to make new traditions. You should too.


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