Sunday, October 31, 2010

Light to This World

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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Nita Stacy said...

To me Halloween is about community. I grew up in a small town, Halloween is the biggest night of the year there. All the children of the town out and dressed up and walking the streets. There is laughter and kind words and a reconnecting with those you have not seen in awhile.

Since now I live in a is my night to create a magical experience for those kids that come to my house. Early in the evening it is the few children that live in my neighborhood. But as the evening goes on it is the less fortunate, poor inner city kids that come to my home. Sometimes not in costume...sometimes in something you can tell they put together themselves. And sometimes in a lovely costume that you know they really couldn't afford. These are children that don't get the best of everything all year round. Their lives are rough...some of them you can tell have a parent who did not want to bring them. By the time they leave my house the parent is smiling. The child feels like he had an experience. I give them handfuls of candy and a toy or two and thank them for coming by to see me. For that moment...I want that child to feel like he is the most special...that he got the very best of the best if only for a moment.

This is what Halloween is all about for me. A celebration of's celebrating that we are alive and not afraid of scary things. We dress as ghouls to scare away the really scary things in our lives.

We had our trick or treating last night.....because living in the bible belt it is never acceptable to have trick or treating on a Sunday. If it were up to me it would not change nights....there is nothing evil going on.

After the trick or treaters slowed down last night....I sat on the front porch with neighbors, then some friends came over and we visited awhile. It is a lovely Holiday...a time to laugh and share with friends and strangers alike.

Vanessa said...

Hey Christie! THANK YOU for having the courage of faith and conviction to write this post!!! We really wrestled with it too this year and decided to be low key also. Visiting family and a few of our dear neighbors but not overdoing it. My son asked "just what IS Halloween mommy?" and it took me some time to come up with an answer that would explain things without scaring him! Yikes! I didn't like how that made me feel! Anyway, I love hearing from your heart and how God is leading you as you lead your little brood!
Blessings my friend,

Anonymous said...

This is a great post. I think you're right, we need to be informed and pray about our actions, seeking to honor God and be in His will.
Your children's suggestions were wonderful, and from the heart.

Custom Comforts said...

I appreciate your courage to take such a godly stand. I have not cared much for Halloween either since I found out about it's origins, but I never say much about it since to speak up is to ask for persecution. For me, the pumpkins, leaves, acorns and all the pretty fall colors are more than enough reason to celebrate and remember our Creator who made it all.

The Inspired Nest said...

Thank you for this post. I don't think that each holiday is ever given a whole lotta thought anymore. I am not a big fan of Halloween because of what it represents, but I do want my kids to have fun and get the experience of dressing up. There are not scary costumes in my house (plus we are all scardy cats!). My daughter wanted to wear some questionable outfits this year (skimpy, skimpy) and we had to talk about it and how it was not appropriate to wear (Mary Poppins won!) But I did not always think this way. The lord really does turn our minds in the right direction! (Sorry for the rambling!) Thanks again for this post! Your kids are shining!

Rachel Noelle Pallas said...

~*~Wonderful post Christie!! I agree with you 100% and it is eye opening learning more about how Halloween started..pretty creepy. Thanks so much for sharing!! Hugs,Rachel~*~

Benn's Wife said...

It is nice to read your post. In Romans Paul writes that we have to be fully convinced in faith about whatever we do, so it is good that you took time to think and pray about it. We have had some years that we trick-or-treated. Some years we have gone to a festival at church. Last year we walked around handing out candy and Halloween-themed tracts. This year, we didn't find out until today that our town did the Trick-or Treating last night, so we decided to celebrate Reformation Day.

Lori @ Dining Delight said...

My kids are grown up but I wish I had had the courage of my convictions back then as you do now. As a Lutheran, Reformation Day is a very significant event and to me, one that needs to be reflected on much more than Halloween. Thank you for writing this interesting post and sharing with us how you and your family arrived at your decision.


Anonymous said...

Oh my!! I simply love the way you've penned your thoughts.. Seeing that Halloween falls on Sabbath.. Huuummm.. I did not really give that a thought.

I'm not huge with halloween celebrations.. but I girls love to dress up.. They dress up looking pretty.. rather than anything halloweeny.. and go get some candies.. Guess the number of candys is the only thing that matters. *smiles*

Hope you have a fabulous week ahead!

I Love Pretty Little Things said...

I have had so many of these same thoughts about Halloween as my children have grown up. We did trick-or-treating and enjoyed that, but I wish that I would have thought about it all a little more than I did.
Thank goodness two of the most wonderful holidays are coming up soon! I can't wait for Thanksgiving and Christmas!!!
Thanks for sharing this. Food for thought...

Jules said...

A friend and I had this same discussion a couple days ago. And my Hubs and I had it yesterday afternoon. I work in a pediatric office and every year we all (front desk, nurses, medical records, docs, & all) dress up as a character. I'm always something non-scary. This year I dressed up as a plain amish women. For me it's just having fun, no worship to Halloween or the devil for me! Something my friend brought up was that what is the difference if we partake in the "innocent" games or just calling it a hallaluah party or harvest party? Is there really a difference. Especially after reading up on where some of the games originated. It's all very interesting. My point was this; No matter what the holiday is, someone is going to use it for either a negative or positive holiday. Even Christmas is originated from a pagan holiday. Christ was not originally the center of this holiday and it was originally a winter fest kind of thing. So I think, like you side, it's all how you look at it. I personally like to create tracks about Christ or Bible stories to pass out to kids. I think it is a great oppurtunity to witness to others. Good thoughts. Enjoyed reading your post.

Jules said...

PS. Our Pastor brought out how that it landed on Sabbeth this year too and mentioned that he personally wanted nothing else to take place on the Lord's day. All praise and worship belong to Him and to Him alone! :o) He then preached on fear and how that the Lord did NOT give us the spirit of fear, but of a sound mind. (2 Tim. 1:7)

Sarah @ Sugar Bananas said...

This is beautiful and I love your phrase about sending forth 'light for this world'. You put into words much of my own feelings about this holiday. My little one asked if we could decorate with 'scary stuff' like the neighbors and this helps me explain why we will/do not.

I stopped by to thank you for linking up with my weekly link party and found your AWESOME list of link parties. I'm gonna bookmark your page for reference. Just one little listed my party under Thursdays ...however, "Sweets This Week" is a Friday party. Just an FYI :)

Thank you for this beautiful post - shedding light on Halloween. Have a great rest of your week.


Kathy said...

Thanks for this. We made a decision long ago that we would not celebrate Halloween due to it's history and also its present. Satanic events are very much increased on this day. Check with local police. When I taught in a public school (8th grade), my kids told me of things that were happening. I've had friends tell me my kids would resent our decision. They never have. The oldest is now 17 and the youngest 7. We have a gerat family night and enjoy our time together. Our verse is from Thes Avoid any appearance of evil. The Bible is very clear that witchcraft is evil. Since witches are a key decoration in the day, we just avoid the celebration. I do believe you did what you felt led to do through prayer. That is very commendable. I am very impressed with your witness in this post.

Cassiescuddles said...

Hi Christie, I stumbled upon your blog tonight and have been reading it through. It's lovely. I just had to post a comment about halloween. I live in Australia, so it's not a big thing here, in fact, it's almost weird for anyone to celebrate it. When my husband and (4) of my five children lived in the US for 6 months, I was so shocked over Halloween. Graves in gardens, witches everwhere..even in the shops people dressing with masks dripping with blood. I was actually scared, I felt like I was in a pagan country. I wasn't use to it, like Americans must get use to it. Don't get me wrong, I love happy children, and a party is wonderful, but I think that you are spot on, especially as a Christian. It actually makes me think, what do I do, just because everyone else does, even though it might not be godly. May God bless you as you raise your children for Him :D

Gail said...

Christie, I love your thoughts on Halloween and how you included your children in the decision of how you would approach this holiday. I've always had an unsettling feeling about it as well and I was raised similar to you (dressing up, eating candy, etc.). Now that I am a believer and want my life and our family's life to be about HIS LIFE, I do feel held back from being able to participate in a holiday that is so much about death. I agree that every family has to decide for themselves and I think your family is such a testimony. Thank you for the encouragement!! You're a great mom!


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