Rituals give us a sense of belonging and make us feel safe
Then Moses said to the people, “Remember this day in which you came out from Egypt, out of the house of slavery, for by a strong hand the LORD brought you out from this place.” (Exodus 13:3a)
Stories before bedtime, prayers at meals, when you put up or take down your Christmas tree, certain things you do on a family vacation, are rituals. Rituals form family identity. Rituals give us a sense of belonging and make us feel safe.
As the Israelites left Egypt, God directed Moses to initiate specific rituals by way of feasts and festivals. To this day, the Jewish faith observes these rituals, thus emphasizing the importance of remembrance and the value of tradition. Such rituals help create meaning and structure in life.
Rituals can help you navigate a successful deployment. They can act as the glue that keeps you connected to your husband, family, friends, and God. For the military family walking through deployment, rituals can serve as a bridge that narrows the distance. In a practical way, they can:
- Strengthen family connections
- Give children a sense of security by knowing what to expect, and when
- Give a family its own personality and sense of being unique and special
- Reinforce a family’s values
- Help family members cope during challenging times.1
Deployment is not a time to suspend family rituals, but to continue them and even come up with some new ones to practice during separation. Remember that the ritual comes in the actual doing of an activity. The ritual is the act. Moses did not just tell the people to remember; the remembering was in the act of the feasts and festivals God had him establish.
What are some of your family rituals? How do these strengthen your relationships? What are some rituals of faith you can establish during this time of deployment?
Prayer for the Journey
Father, I pray you will strengthen our family during times of separation. Keep our family strong and together. Strengthen our ties with one another and with you. Give us joy, laughter, and sweet memories as we celebrate special rituals and family traditions. Amen.
1 “Dealing with Deployment,” www.military.com, http://www.military.com/spouse/military-deployment/dealing-with-deployment/deployment-family-rituals (accessed November 18, 2014).