My little football player is missing! He had already discarded the gear!
Growing up, I never really gave Halloween much thought. We dressed up and got lots of candy. I didn't know the Lord, so all holidays were about 'me!' Christmas was about 'me' and how many toys 'I' would get! Halloween was about how much candy 'I' could get and devour in one night!
Since the Lord plucked me from the world of 'me' at the age of 21, I tend to look at things differently now. This year, Halloween falls on the Sabbath day. Hmmmm...I thought maybe I should see if this is something that honors God. Should we 'trick or treat' on Sunday? Should we 'trick or treat' at all? I know there are wide opinions on the subject. A preacher on a podcast said "families make decisions based on their past experiences, their present circumstances, and what they want for the future." It looks different for every family. I would add that for our family, decisions should be made after much prayer...a relatively new concept to me.
After much prayer and seeking counsel from some wise friends, we did a little research. Wow...the history of Halloween is not pretty. And honestly, there is nothing honoring to God about this holiday. Now, I might have suspected that, but the details of its origin and all the scary things that go along with Halloween are a bit unsettling. The difference is that the Celts back in the day actually 'believed' and worshipped these things. They believed that the dead walked around on Halloween and folks gave 'soul cakes' and had bon fires to ward off the evil spirits. People dressed up to mimic the 'dead.' The most common costumes for thousands of years have remained the witch, the skeleton, and the ghost. Werewolves and vampires are also common costumes.
Why do we go door to door? Why do we 'celebrate?' Why do we dress up? Are we honoring God? If it is not honoring God, should we participate at all? These are some of the questions we pondered with our children.
I read more history on the subject than I know what to do with! My husband and I explained it in simple terms to our children, and then we asked them those questions. To our surprise, they had some good thoughts. Our son felt that we should not participate on Sunday, but go to a festival at one of the churches on Saturday. Our oldest daughter agreed and added that we shouldn't wear anything scary.
We do not typically let them make decisions of this kind; after all, they are only 8, 7 and 4. What better topic, though, to give them the chance to use some discernment?
Our goal is to raise these children to be light in this world. Halloween is a dark night, but is it really unlike any other day? Are people worshipping the same things the Celts did many years ago? I doubt it. (Sure, there are some that do.) But, I tend to think Halloween to most folks is what it was to me growing up...just getting dressed up and getting lots of candy, visiting neighbors or friends and eating too much sugar until we are sick of it!
My goal as I grow toward the cross is to not accept a 'watered down' faith. So, that is where I find myself today. I have prayed about this and feel the Lord leading me a step closer to the cross. Am I 'there' yet? By no means...only a step. Last year, my daughter was a witch and my son a wolf to my youngest daughter's little red riding hood.
We did attend the festival yesterday and it was perfect! It was at a church in a big field with some great, clean music playing, games, hayrides and free hotdogs...everything was free! We might visit with a few friends tonight, who have had us over every year since our kids were tiny for hotdogs. We may even go over to see a few neighbors. We may stay in our yard and roast marshmallows, not to ward off evil spirits, but just to eat some s'mores! Who knows?! What we do know is exactly what we believe and Who we believe in! The children know that we want them to be light to this world, even on Halloween.
In my quest for answers, I was most surprised that many believers didn't really know what Halloween was about or why they participate in it. I encourage you to dig deep and to understand your traditions! Maybe take this time to understand more about 'Reformation Sunday.' (Rent the movie, 'Luther.') Consider having your children dress up as historical figures and research the person or era. I know there are some who will strongly disagree with our decision. I welcome your feedback! We made this decision based on "past experiences, present circumstances and prayer for what we want for the future!"
Since, we can't do much about all the 'evil' billboards, pictures or costumes in stores that our children see this time of year, we have memorized this verse, "I will set before my eyes no vile thing...I will have nothing to do with evil" (Psalm 101:3-4) When they see these evil things, we tell them to look away, and not to 'set their eyes on them.' This is a lesson for everyday...not just Halloween!
Bless your family on this night and every night!
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