What Elvis Presley and a handful of traditions taught me about God

It's the morning after Thanksgiving, and I'm huddled under the blankets, thankful for a day to sleep in. I'm vaguely aware that my son's up and padding around the living room. And then I hear it, loud and clear. My home is being visited by "The King." Yes, Elvis Presley.

"I'll have a blue Christmas without you," Elvis croons. Even in my sleepy condition, I smile. The Christmas season has officially begun at our house. You see, we have a tradition that we can't play holiday music until the day after Thanksgiving, and then only after we've listened to Elvis sing this song. It's our signal Christmas is on its way. It's a goofy little tradition; I'm not even sure how it got started. But it's one we simply can't break.

The Value of Tradition

Big or small, traditions add richness to our lives. They give us common ground with others.

In the musical Fiddler on the Roof , the townspeople sang of traditions that helped each person understand his or her place in the family, in the village, and in society. In Old Testament times, God asked his people to hold annual festivals to remember what he'd done for them. For example, Passover memorialized the tenth plague God sent, which allowed the Israelites to be freed from slavery in Egypt. These celebrations served several purposes: They reminded people of God's provision of food, safety, and guidance; they turned people's hearts back to God; and they gave older people a chance to tell the younger ones about the great things God had done.

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