Tradition or Treason

How will you celebrate the holidays?

Words fascinate me. Hauling out my five pound Webster’s 1828 Dictionary and logging on to www.etymonline is a regular part of my writing ritual. In his book “Grace Notes,” author Phillip Yancey says, 

“As a writer, I play with words all day long.  I toy with them, listen for their overtones, crack them open, and try to stuff my thoughts inside.”

Crack them open …. I love that! That’s really what etymology is all about: studying the origins of words and how they evolved. For example:

the word etymology is derived from the Greek eutmos which means real or true. Ology refers to the study of science of something.

I’m writing an eBook about the holidays so I looked up the origins of the word tradition: its from the late 14th century and has roots from a word that meant to “deliver, surrender or hand over.” That made total sense. What I read next about made me fall off my chair:

Tradition is a ‘doublet’ of the word treason which also means “a handing over, delivery or surrender.” 

Whaaat? I’m writing about holiday traditions – such a warm, comfy-cozy, feel good topic and now I find out it has something in common with treason. 

Follow me here as I take a side trip down Santa Claus lane:

Could our unrelenting insistence on observing traditions, both old and new, cause us to somehow commit treason? Yes, if you define treason as ‘violation by a subject of his allegiance to his sovereign.’ 

If Jesus is our ultimate sovereign then I believe it is possible to commit treason when our traditions get in the way of celebrating his birth. I’m not saying to do away with the Christmas tree, nor am I against traditions. But if we spend the next 5 weeks in holiday overdrive without a thought to our savior and sovereign Lord, we have essentially “handed over” or “surrendered” our allegiance.

I don’t know about you, but this sort of puts my ‘Bake more, Buy more, Be more’ mentality into perspective. This season I plan on making a focused effort to surrender my plans for His. That’s a tradition that’s worth handing down, don’t you think?

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One thought on “Tradition or Treason

  • June 6, 2018 at 2:03 pm

    Preston says:
    November 16, 2011 at 10:38 am (Edit)
    pineapple sweet potato marshmallow thingys are treason against Pilgrims. : )


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