“Time keeps on slippin’, slippin’, slippin’ into the future.” You may recognize that line from the Steve Miller Band song, Fly Like an Eagle. (If you are too young to know about this song, fret not. Someone will most likely perform a cover of this classic at some point and you will think it’s a new song.) Time does indeed continue to progress into the future. Things change and even our dearest held family traditions evolve into new forms so that they might survive the changes of time’s progression.
I was made very aware of this dynamic during this particular Christmas holiday. We have many traditions in our family when it comes to the holiday season and I am thankful that my children have not only embraced those traditions, but look forward to them each year. However, time will not allow those traditions to remain exactly the same for too long.
In the past five years, the passage of time has brought changes to our traditions and has even caused us to form different traditions within the newly formed paradigm of our life. Three years ago, my father passed away which necessitated changes to our Thanksgiving and Christmas traditions. Both of these holidays were always important to my family growing up and we would often go to my parents’ place for a wonderful meal and time together. After my father’s passing, we began to a new tradition of having my mother and brother over to our house for Thanksgiving. It has been my privilege in this newly formed tradition to serve my mother who had so graciously served us for so many years. No, it’s not the same as it was in the past, but it is a new good thing that we look forward to now.
This Christmas brought our family another unfamiliar situation as our son had recently gotten married. Being that he is no longer living at home and has his own wife now, things have changed. We must now share our son over that holidays with his wife and with another family. We experienced our first Christmas not having our son home for Christmas Eve or Christmas morning, but coming over with his wife later that day. Again, a new good thing has formed as an old good thing has been released to the passage of time. During his visit, I found myself consciously willing my attention to savor every moment like one might be careful to consciously enjoy every sip of an exceptional cup of coffee.
My point in all of this is that we, as human beings, tend to resist change. The simple truth, however, is that we cannot stop time from “slippin’ into the future”. It is a foolish notion to attempt to vice grip the traditions we love into a ridged form that cannot survive the passage of time. Things change. That truth does not mean that we must completely abandon those memories we cherish, but if we wish to continue to make more, we must allow, yes, even embrace, the adaptation of those traditions over time so that we may fully appreciate the new good things that will come along with those changes.
I find myself in the place my parents once were when their children were growing up and changes were occurring to their family dynamic. And, if the Lord is gracious to us, my wife and I will find ourselves in the place of our parents now; enjoying grandchildren and seeing new traditions formed and old traditions reimagined around the new chapter of time.
Of course, with all of the changes the passage of time brings, one may wonder if there is any sort of unchanging anchor to be secured to through this journey of life. There is but one; “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” – Hebrews 13:8.
The eternal Lord does not change. Time cannot change Him because He exists apart from time. Peer pressure cannot change Him because He has no peers. Popular opinion cannot change Him because our opinions are uninformed at best and tainted by evil desire at worst. Jesus Christ is the only steady rock in this tempest of life we exist in. I encourage you to find your sanctuary and stability in Him.
As we all prepare to enter a new year, my hope for each of you is that you will savor all of the old good things that carry over and all of the new good things that will come into being, and that you will grow with the changes that life will surely bring.
Until next time… next year… may your coffee and contemplations be rich and fulfilling.