3 R's: Rituals, Rhythms, and Rest (Part 1 of 3)

Christmas is coming! Christmas is coming!

Around here, we’re getting pretty excited. When Santa shimmies down our chimney on Christmas Eve, he leaves traces of magic everywhere. There’s a trail of candy canes and gold coins from the kids’ rooms down to the Christmas tree, stockings stuffed to the brim with thoughtful gifts, and presents under the tree wrapped with—what else—a unique Santa paper for each child. Someone usually makes a Starbucks run, and then we spend the rest of the day cooking up yummy treats for friends and family stopping by. It’s a glorious time, a time so steeped in tradition, I think our family might implode if I tried to change a single thing.

Which got me thinking…

Why are traditions so important?

The word itself seems so dated and obtuse. No one wants to be traditional. How old-fashioned! We want to be progressive, trendy, and popular.

But tradition is important precisely because it can be counted on never to change.

The tradition is grounding; it helps us understand who we are and our place within the family unit and society as a whole.

My traditions do not minimize or negate yours.

In fact, our daughter loves to ask her friends about their traditions. She loves learning about what other families do, and in fact, many of our family traditions are not things that I grew up with at all, but rather things I read about in magazines or heard my friends doing, and thought, “Oh that would be fun for us!”

Which leads me to talk about something called rituals….

When it’s not the holidays, traditions have another name. We call them rituals, and our days are filled with them.

It’s making a pot of coffee or having tea before bed. It’s kisses and hugs before walking out the door and prayers at mealtimes.

Our everyday rituals are just as important as our traditions. They may even be more important because these rituals form the habits that shape us into the people we become.

A ritual provides structure for our days and weeks. A ritual is a physical cue that tells our bodies and minds what’s next.

The new year is the perfect time to begin incorporating rituals into your everyday life. Think of them as sort of your rules for living.

What are your current rules for living?
What are your preferred rules for living?

During this season of giving and receiving, I hope you’ll enjoy the time honored traditions your family has cultivated. Savor every moment. The traditions you love today will become the memories you cherish for years to come. (And the rituals you practice will become the foundation of your preferred future).

Merry Christmas!

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