Looking out my window today, I’m pondering leftovers. Thanksgiving is now a faded memory, and all the good leftovers have disappeared. The only thing left are a few meat scraps on a soon to be discarded leg bone. The dressing is gone, the mashed potatoes are gone, and the gravy has been wiped up with the last remaining homemade bun. If I look deep enough into the back corner of the fridge, I might find a lone piece of pumpkin pie. The Cool Whip can is thrown away, so my only hope for a complete dessert is if I find ice cream somewhere hidden in the freezer.
One Thanksgiving down, with another soon to follow. After living in the States for so long, we usually celebrate Thanksgiving twice. Celebrating two Thanksgiving Days has many benefits. It means we actually have turkey three months in a row! October, November and December really are my favorite months. This year our daughter will be visiting from Colorado in November which means we have even more reasons to celebrate the American Thanksgiving. Since she’s getting married next year, it also means this Thanksgiving will be extra special as she learns how to cook a turkey with all the extras! She’s even going to learn how to make homemade buns with a recipe that’s been handed down all the way from my Great-Grandmother.
Tradition is important and while our daughter is in town, another tradition will be started. The passing down of a wedding dress. Measurements will be taken, alterations made, father/daughter dance music picked, and much more will transpire during her visit. By the time February 4th, 2018 arrives, yet another tradition will start as I walk our daughter down the aisle to give her away, on the same day Sandra and I celebrate our 34th wedding anniversary. What an amazing day that will be! Not only will we share wedding anniversary dates, but the wedding dress worn by Tracy, is the same one Sandra wore 34 years ago when we were married. I will do my best not to shed too many tears.
Throughout history many traditions have come and gone. Some good, some bad, and some totally indifferent. In the Old Testament the Israelites were told to write the Laws on gates and doorposts. They were also instructed to bind reminders of God’s laws onto their wrists. This tradition would be a constant reminder to keep God’s plans “in front of their eyes”. The purpose of the tradition was to direct the minds of the people to repeatedly and regularly think about God and how His Word applied to their lives. On the surface, the Old Testament tradition looked good, and worked to a certain degree. But in the end, the traditions of man, did not transform the heart of man, or the life of man, into the image God originally intended.
For the nation of Israel – in the Old Testament – the tradition led to captivity as the people did not follow God’s plan. In the midst of exile Ezekiel writes about a new plan as God declares; “I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit in you and move you to follow My decrees and be careful to keep my laws” (Ezekiel 34:25-27).
While in exile, Ezekiel was planting seeds for God’s next plan to call us back to His side. The New Testament replaces laws written on doorposts, with laws written on our heart. Some say they want nothing to do with church, because they don’t want to deal with religion. To quote my old friend and singer Scott Wesley Brown, “I’m not religious, I just love the Lord”. He is the one who turns hearts of stone, to hearts of flesh, leading to a transformed life of hope, purpose and destiny.
Looking Out My Window is a regular column in the Northumberland Today newspaper located in Cobourg, Ontario, Canada.