Book Club: Treasuring God in Our Traditions: Everyday & Especially Traditions

7 Nov

Book Club

Thanks for joining us as we continue discussing Treasuring God in Our Traditions. If you missed the first two posts, you’ll find them here and here.

Traditions: Everyday and Especially
Yesterday we talked about the reality that Christians are to be a proactive people–intentionally celebrating, remembering, passing to the next generation the realities and truths of our great God. So, how can we be proactive about reminding ourselves of God, reflecting on what He has done so that we do not forget or fail to pass those things along to the next generation? Traditions help us with this.

If you spend anytime in the Old Testament, you hear of the feasts that the children of Israel celebrated; these feasts were for the sole purpose of remembering, celebrating and passing along to the next generation the good works of God. Wash, rinse, repeat. We often think things that are repetitive in nature are redundant and boring. However, God created us to learn through repetition, which is why, by the way, my youngest son had me read The Pumpkin Parable to him 5 times in a row–literally–one day last week. In all 5 readings of the book, he wasn’t bored, rolling his eyes, picking his nose or doing other actions indicative of annoyance. No, he was hanging on every word, grasping in greater detail with each reading the story of the book. Traditions can be used of God in our lives to help us remember who He is and what He has done; they can also help us return to Him since, let’s be honest, we often forget. “Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love.”

In the book, Noel Piper describes two types of traditions–“Everyday” and “Especially”–as avenues by which we can infiltrate our lives with God.

Everyday Traditions- The “everyday” traditions that Piper mentions in the book are centered on the life blood of a Christian’s life–God’s Word and Prayer.

“God’s Word is the way God has given us to know him, our only source of life and happiness.”
(Treasuring God in Our Traditions, page 43)

It was here that I was first introduced to the idea of exposing children at a young age to the Bible. Gheez, again, not rocket science! However, before having children I would have assumed that exposing children to the Bible at a young age would be “too complicated” or “too much for them to understand.” However, after experiencing in our own family how our sons’ have eaten up and soaked in exorbitant amounts of the stories of the Bible and, therefore, God Himself simply by letting them listen to the Bible on CD (these are our family’s favorites), I am thankful that 8 years ago this book instructed me otherwise.

Piper also notes that Family Devotions are the simplest way to ensure that children are hearing God’s Word. She acknowledges that it sounds simple, yet it’s one of the hardest things for a family to “pull off.” As we discussed yesterday, something as simple as Family Devotions will never happen without proactive planning–decide what you’re going to do, when you’re going to do it, and go! We are no “experts” here in our home with Family Devotions (aka “Bible Time” at our house), but in our experience simply reading from the Bible–even your kiddo’s favorite children’s Bible–and having a prayer with them, works. 🙂 It’s been such a sweet time together. Giving our children  (and their parents) the opportunity to hear is good, necessary, vital and positions their hearts to be softened and ripe to respond to the gospel. What a joy!

Regarding prayer, again, not rocket science. We all know that we should do it, yet we always don’t. I loved the examples from the book of the various ways the Pipers prayed together and prayed over their kids. They “normalized” prayer in their home; they prayed together so frequently that it wasn’t strange or foreign to their children. I love that! As we have welcomed children into our home, it felt weird and awkward, at first, when praying with our children. For me personally, prayer has always been a private, intimate practice between me and God. Letting my children “in” on that was foreign to be in the beginning, but after reading the book 8 years ago, I was reminded that praying with my children teaches them how to pray, about God’s character and demonstrates that He is the source of all things–not their parents. Reading through the section on prayer renewed my desire to pray over and with my children. Again, I’m praying for consistency in this endeavor.

Especially Traditions- I devoured these chapters when first reading it 8 years ago. When I thought of “traditions,” I was thinking of “What are we going to do to celebrate Christmas, Easter, etc. as a family?” I am forever indebted to Noel Piper for her explanation of the importance of rooting our “especially” traditions in God and Christ. The way that we celebrate Christmas, Easter, birthdays, “gotcha” days, weddings, etc. demonstrate to others what we truly treasure. With holidays and special occasions in our family, I now quietly ask myself, “Who is displayed in this tradition? Or, is God being shown as my greatest treasure through this tradition?” These chapters on “especially” traditions have served as a filter for me when examining traditions that we have in place or when thinking to introduce a new one. If you are looking to start “especially” traditions this year, I encourage you to buy this book and read these “especially” chapters. We have incorporated many of her ideas into our family, and we are better for it.

It was also this book that introduced me to the Noel Piper Christmas Advent Calendar, which makes my heart skip a beat just thinking about it! It has been a tremendous blessing to our family and has become an anchor for our Christmas celebrations. This will be our 8th year to do it, and it never gets old! She also has tremendous ideas in the book for “especially” traditions for Easter, birthdays and others. Her ideas are wonderful and can be tweaked or adapted to fit your family’s “especially” traditions.

Do you have any “everyday” or “especially” traditions that your family enjoys?!?!? Pray, tell! We would love to hear about them!

Join us tomorrow as we wrap up our Treasuring God in Our Traditions Book Club.

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3 Responses to “Book Club: Treasuring God in Our Traditions: Everyday & Especially Traditions”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Book Club: Treasuring God in Our Traditions–Where is my treasure? | Suzanne Shares - November 8, 2013

    […] Thanks for joining us for our final day discussing Treasuring God in Our Traditions. If you missed the previous three posts, you’ll find them here, here, and here. […]

  2. Book Club: Treasuring God in Our Traditions–reflections | Suzanne Shares - November 9, 2013

    […] the other three posts in this series here, here, and […]

  3. Long Story Short: A great way to start reading the Word together as a family (FREE Kindle download today | Suzanne Shares - November 25, 2013

    […] the Book Club in October, you’ll remember that Noel Piper calls Bible reading and prayer and “Everyday” tradition. One example that she gave to incorporate this “Everyday” tradition is a family […]

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