Column — Tradition

Published 5:17 pm Friday, December 10, 2021

Tradition. Even those folks who swear they won’t get hung up in traditions are establishing the tradition of not following traditions (yeah…don’t worry…that confused even me when saying and typing). Last week we mentioned the tradition of Advent and how even though it isn’t found in the Bibles it has become a loved church (and family) tradition for many. Did you know that the history of advent with candle lightings actually didn’t begin until probably almost 200 years ago? Around 1830, a Protestant minister, Johann Henrich Wichern, noticed the children at the mission school he worked with kept asking every.single.day. whether or not it was Christmas yet. My man got tired of all the questions and his impatience lead him to place 20 red candles (representing Monday through Saturday) and 4 white candles (representing the Sundays) together and each morning he would light a candle as a countdown toward Christmas morning so the children would just stop asking IS IT CHRISTMAS YET every.single.day. It worked. The tradition was set and to this day we still enjoy advent with candle lightings or daily candy/cheese/ornament/wine/etc. openings as a countdown to Christmas.

Now, through the years different topics have been given to each candle for church services. While some get reeeaaaalllyyy irritated and upset and proclaim how THAT isn’t right and THAT’S not what THEY were taught… does it truly matter seeing as advent isn’t found in scripture? Isn’t the point to allow our hearts to rally around “said” topic and pray as a family for whatever that topic may be? Isn’t the point to teach and train our young folks what life is about and how we celebrate Christmas as a reminder of said reason for life … Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior?

This past Sunday, Dec., our church family rallied around the idea of LOVE. Some may even call this the Bethlehem candle or the candle of Faith. Let’s go with love, ok? Why do I desire to go with this topic of love this week for our advent countdown? Well…the Beatles said it best: “All you need is love…Love is all you need (1967, Magical Mystery Tour).”

The apostle Paul told the Corinthian church that faith, hope, love remain “but the GREATEST of these is…LOVE (1 Corinthians 13:13 NIV)”. Love is a dominating force. When we love, all prejudice and hatred should be tossed aside. We should no longer be jealous, shouldn’t hold grudges, shouldn’t wish harm. Every day is better with love. So, fill this week … heck, fill the rest of your daily life with love. It is truly all you need.

Rev. J. Cameron Bailey is pastor of Kenbridge Christian Church. He can be reached at jamescameronbailey@gmail.com.