Book Review

3 Aug

9781581348330.jpg image by writer4him 

Treasuring God in Our Traditions by Noël Piper

This book is a good resource for anyone who wonders why traditions are important and/or desires to be purposeful about building meaningful, godly ones within his or her family.

We have a natural aversion to meaninglessness and chaos. Whether we like it or not, we develop routines, habits, ways of doing things that help make life more manageable, predictable, orderly, understandable, and perhaps more enjoyable. We systematize and traditionalize things to make the transfer of information more efficient and effective. Whether we are intentional about it, or haphazard, routines, habits and traditions become an essential part of our lives.

As Noël Piper puts it, “Traditions are a lot like heirlooms. Both probably have come to us through our families. Some you love; you can’t imagine life without them. Some you’re stuck with; you don’t know what to do with them. Both heirlooms and good traditions strengthen our sense of history and belonging. As Christians, our history is God’s story of drawing us into his family.”

She goes on to make a case for the importance of good traditions within a family. God, when He instituted the laws that were to govern the nation of Israel, intentionally set up days of celebration, remembrance and reflection. These were to be days to recall who they were and what God had done for them. They were days to teach their children the importance of the history of their nation and the character of the LORD their God. God also set up rituals and traditions for how things were to be carried out on these days, and for every other aspect of life and government. These traditions gave them a sense of collective identity, of “belonging”, a way to recall that they were part of something bigger than themselves, a meaningful and easily comprehended way of passing on information to the next generation, and often provided answers to the human question of “Why?” Not only that, but the anticipation of special occasions offered an opportunity to enjoy and rejoice together in the LORD, to truly drink deeply of the wonderful human capacity to delight in the bountiful creation and good Creator, refreshing and restoring the body, mind and soul.

In our self-absorbed, individualistic, warp-speed, high-stress, information-overload, over-socialized age, with shattered people and relationships on all fronts, and unanswered questions of “Why?” leaving open the interpretation of ethics, morality and truth to whatever the most convenient cultural or personal meaning is at the moment, the importance and necessity of good, godly traditions cannot be overestimated.  Without them, we are like ships adrift with no anchor, sails, rudder or oars.

In this book, Mrs. Piper provides suggestions for developing meaningful traditions for everything from daily family routines to special holidays/events, and weekly church worship times. She illustrates with practical examples from their own Piper family traditions and even recipes from her own kitchen! My favorite parts of the book are the “Especially” chapters, and the several pages of resource helps at the end. Whether you question (as I do) if it is even right to celebrate Christmas and Easter and birthdays because of the decidedly pagan cultural heritage and rituals they possess, or simply just want some ideas for a more organized and enjoyable family life, or anything in between, you are sure to find some helpful thoughts and wonderful suggestions in this book. It is an easy read, and a very engaging one at that!

©2010 Reformation Lady and Chandra E. Wellman. All rights reserved.

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