By Jim F. Harp
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — Christmas time has become a tradition in our families.
In “Fiddler on the Roof,” Tevye introduced the movie by his life dedication and surrender to tradition. He even sang about it and introduced it as his lifestyle commitment.
Tradition is so strong that entire groups use it as a recipe for life itself. It gives us a reason, or excuse, to provide an act of kindness for others. Others mean not only family, but friends, and those we see who need our attention. We become aware of those needs because they are printed in the newspaper; mentioned to us where we work, play or worship. The Salvation Army even rings the bell to get everyone’s attention.
We attend our favorite church, eat at our favorite restaurants, shop at the same places and exercise the same habits. Furthermore, we sit at the same chairs, occupy the same pews, park at the same places and enjoy the same habits. We use habits, and traditions as a panacea for our loneliness, sorrows and joys.
Our parents set up and established habits, solution and techniques as a grand scheme of convenience for our families and close friends. So, I always knew where the family was going to be and when they would be there.
We, each one of us, find comfort and make use of the repetition that tradition and habit provide. Each child born affects the community. More specifically, we capitalize on these habits as we grow older. Our participation also changes with time. No event, affects us like the Christmas holidays. Our involvement in most things ranges from “woe is me” to “hallelujah.”
Our lives change as we grow older. Our roles change in predictable ways as the march of time continues.
The pastor in my church said it this way: “When we are kids, we believe in Santa Claus. As we grow older, we do not believe in Santa Claus, then we are Santa Claus and, finally, we look like Santa Claus.”
Today, I look back to the time when I was a child in my parents’ house. Then it all moved over to my house, and now Christmas has moved over to the house of one of my children. It was not so much a matter of choice, but one of necessity. I accept these changes as traditions, habits and necessary life dynamics. Happily, it is the only part of our lives that is not, generally, affected by politics.
This Christmas will see the patriarch of each family wishing the several generations a merry Christmas and a happy new year. So let it be with you and yours.
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