A Case for Traditions

… “that this may be a sign among you when your children ask in time to come, saying, ‘What do these stones [mean] to you?’  Joshua 4:6

My wife is the queen of establishing traditions.  I love that she lives to celebrate any obscure excuse she can come up with.  This has become more and more true the older our three kids grown.  We celebrate report cards, dance recitals, soccer wins, pro D days, Sundays, and anything out of the ordinary.  As I’m sure you can imagine, that means the “big” holidays are especially celebrated in our home.

To be honest, I haven’t always jumped on board right away with these often-forced attempts at creating a tradition.  It’s hard work and many times it feels like the kids just aren’t getting it.  But to my shock and amazement, as my wife has been faithfully and intentionally celebrating, sometimes by an act of sheer willpower, my kids are starting to get it.  Not only are they starting to get it, their actually embracing it, looking forward to it and helping her plan for it!

As they mature and grow in their identity as a member of our family, these traditions seem to be creating “monuments” in their lives; events that they can look forward to and look back on.  The consistency builds confidence and the significance of each intentional plan is building deeper meaning as our kids continue to grow in wisdom and understanding.  It’s really fun to watch and reminds me of how awesome my wife is!

Observing and participating in this has reminded me of how important it is that we establish Godly traditions in our lives.  In the book of Joshua we read how the Lord led the children of Israel into the promised land.  The Lord began the journey with a miracle, stopping the waters of the Jordan River so that they could pass through on dry land.  After going through, Joshua called for one representative from each of the twelve tribes.  He commanded them to each find a large stone and build a monument as reminder of what God had done.  The point was that there was a reminder that would always be there.  Many people may have walked by it without understanding it’s significance but there would come a day where a generation would be faced with a tough circumstance and that monument would be there as a reminder of God’s power.

What are some monuments in our lives?  How about praying before a meal, regular church attendance, praying before bed, singing songs about God’s goodness, or faithfully attending a life group?  These traditions may be tough to initiate, but as our love and understanding of God grows and we continue to mature in him, these monuments will become cornerstones of confidence.  I propose that the significance will become more and more apparent as we intentionally build these monuments in our lives.


-Matt Janzen