(I can’t write the title without singing the song from Fiddler on the Roof…)

I have always had a skeptical view of traditions. Whether it came from my upbringing, or my own nature, I rarely find, ‘Because we always do it this way,’ a good answer. I want to know why you have always done it this way, please and thank you.

As a side note, there was a well enforced rule growing up that went like this, ‘Say yes ma’am, then ask why’. I am pretty sure I was the one who necessitated that rule…

This year, partly because of my husband, partly because of a church switch, I have been exposed to some ‘church’ traditions. Such as Good Friday service, Christmas Eve service, and Advent. (The solemn looking forward to the return of Christ advent, not the open a door and get a treat one.)

Was I skeptical at first? Absolutely. I mean, what is with all the extra services? Just trying to get more people in the doors?

Fast forward a few dozen articles and actually attending those services. I have grown to appreciate and enjoy these church traditions. There is something beautiful in the traditions that I have found nowhere else.

There is beauty in the liturgy of the services. Every year, it forces the attendees to take a breath and think about what the holiday is truly celebrating. And I find the simple repetition of the services every year puts markers upon the year. A stake in the flow of the time, saying here I will remember, here I will celebrate.

Tradition is what brings a sense of enveloping coziness to the holidays. I know I will get a tree, I know I will give a receive presents, I know I will make cookies. These traditions are what make the holidays special to my heart, they are why I look forward to the holiday season all year long.

I understand a little better now why people are so drawn to Orthodoxy and Catholicism. The tradition and liturgy of each service calls to a weary soul worn down with decision making and wondering. The solidness of tradition, knowing that generations have done this before you, is settling. I am joining in an entire community of people doing the exact same thing and in the same way.

In a society questioning everything, tradition is a nice change. The decision has already been made of what to do and when, we just need to follow, or not.

Will I still question everything? Probably. But just because other people thought of it doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea. Maybe other people have good ideas, too. Even dead people.

Shaina Merrick