The word “Advent” come from the Latin word “adventus” meaning arrival.
It is the season when we prepare our hearts for the arrival of Christ on Christmas. As we enjoy our annual school traditions this Advent I am realizing how important they are to the children. Many of the students have been checking with their teachers to make sure we are continuing certain traditions this year and visibly happy to hear they will continue.
I was recently reading an article by Allison Woods titled, “More Than Memories: The Importance of Traditions”. In it Ms. Woods makes that point that traditions bring stability and a sense of identity to children and some continuity between the generations. This is most certainly true in a culture of quickly changing trends and a lack of permanence with important things. My own recollection of family traditions from my childhood include advent calendars, wreaths, Jesse trees, white lights (not colored), playing with the Nativity set, making apple pie with my grandmother for breakfast on Christmas morning, and knit stockings she made for each of us on the hearth. I still hang my same stocking 40 years later.
Mrs. Woods writes, “Family traditions provide great value, and the value lasts far beyond the moment. The value of a tradition isn't in completing the ritual; the value comes from what it provides for those who participate.” The beauty is that each family can have their own unique traditions. I don’t know how eating apple pie for breakfast on Christmas morning started in my family. I do know that I looked forward to helping my grandmother make them every year and that even today just a whiff of apple pie makes me think of her and smile.
Traditions are great for families. Not only do they build memories they help us grow stronger in our love for one another. They give children a sense of stability, help create wonder in a child’s imagination, and help us grow in our relationships with one another. Don’t be afraid to start a new tradition or bring back an old one. The tradition itself is not important….having fun doing it together is.