We have a tradition that really should stop being a tradition. That might be a funny way to introduce a thought, but here goes:
For over a decade we've had a tradition at Solid Rock Youth - we serve Christmas dinner to the seniors at our church. This year we changed the tradition, moved it to the afternoon and served tea and finger foods. That was a good change, but not the tradition we need to change.
At the Seniors Tea out students served food. They entertained with music, dance and magic. They held umbrellas [because it never snows in the valley unless it's a Wednesday]. They hung up coats. Afterward they put back tables and chairs, swept the floor, washed the dishes... all things to be commended [especially the dishes part!] However, there's no change required here.
We have a full schedule in our youth ministry, and December is the most filled. We have have Christmas parties, attend Christmas parties, host Christmas parties. No change required, its a great season to celebrate and Jesus is worthy of the celebration!
The change comes up when we consider why we have a Seniors Tea. It isn't to have another party or an excuse to eat Christmasy food [really, who needs an excuse for that!], it isn't to perform more or to clean more. its much more important. The reason is to put two generations = teens and seniors - in the same place at the same time for conversation. That's the reason. We have a tradition of doing this once a year. It's a great event! Most everyone feels a little awkward at first, but always by the end of the event, smiles are everywhere and everyone has engaged in good conversation. We do need to change one thing though... lets make conversation between generations less of an annual tradition and more of an everyday practice. We have so much to gain and to learn from year other!