Remember that great song from Fiddler on the Roof? "Who, day and night, must scramble for a living, feed a wife and children, say his daily prayers? And who has the right, as master of his house, to have the final word at home? The papa! Tradition!"
There is something to be said for tradition--something more than this song implies. Jesus did, it's true, chastise his countrymen for putting their faith in tradition instead of in the true spirit of God's law. But he also honored traditions. When he celebrated the Passover with his disciples, he extended the meaning of that tradition to include believers in all centuries since. "'Do this,'" he said, "'in remembrance of me'" (I Corinthians 11:24).
Repeated acts help us recall important truths. Symbols surrounding a holiday remind us of the deeper meaning of the day, and songs are a powerful tool to call up past experiences. On Easter Sunday, when we sang "Nothing But the Blood" and "At the Cross," I was a little girl again, standing by my mother's side, learning the truths of Scripture--learning what it is we celebrate at Easter.
Even the egg hunts, the frilly dresses, and the traditional dinner recall to my mind the wonder of the Resurrection and the amazing truth that makes our life different from all the religions of the world.
So I'm all about tradition. It is tradition that reminds us of what we need to know, it is tradition that brings the family around the table to share a meal, and it was tradition that pulled me into a church vestibule one Sunday morning in the mid-seventies to encounter myself and admit my sin.
I'm ever so thankful I grew up in a home where certain things were expected--traditional, even. I hope I never get over it.