Saturday, October 29, 2011

Halloween: My Ever Changing View

 Well, this can often be a catalyst for many heated debates on the topic of good vs. evil. It's one that I have fought and debated all my adult life. As a child, I went door to door just like any other child and while it was fun to dress up, I remember being a little too scared from time to time. As an adolescent, I would love to have the pants scared off of me and looked for that rush all year long. I loved scary movies and that feeling that you use never know what could be lurking just around the next corner. Now that I am a parent and my primary job is to protect my children from evil, my views are changing. Here are few thoughts we pondered regarding halloween:
  1. Would I allow my children to watch a program with scary images of dead/dismembered people?
  2. Are my children going to "miss out" on a learning/growth experience?
  3. If all year long I teach my children "stranger danger" & never take candy from strangers then why would I encourage them (one day a year) to go to door asking for candy?
  4. What is halloween really about or promoting?
  5. How would Jesus react/deal with halloween if he were here today?
And here are some of my conclusions:
  1. NO, I would never choose to let my children watch any programming that would fill their impressionable minds with fear.
  2. My children dress up a few times a week and, thanks to the influence of Mr. Dress-up, we have a tickle trunk full of many costumes (none scary) for them to choose from. Dressing up with friends happens almost ever week around our house; so I know they are not missing out on the creativity that halloween brings to the dressing up of children. Not participating at all might not be sending the right message either. So where is the line drawn?
  3. For older children I know this can be explained, but I certainly do not want to promote "breaking rules".
  4. My husband has done a bit of research into this "holiday" and it's origins. For the most part we, in North America today, do not recognize this day as a day to worship "pagan" gods as was once done by the Druids years ago. We also don't often see or hear of the celebrations adopted by the radicle "satanists" out there. It really is a day that is marketed toward the selling of candy & costumes (not unlike how modern society has changed Christmas). However, I do feel that in going door to door with our children's goodie bags opened wide "begging" for treats is a bit on the gluttonous side. I know how excited my 6 year old gets about getting candy. The excitement surrounding halloween for him is in regards to the volume and diversity of candy that he can get in one day, or even in a couple hours. He really starts going nuts over it as the day approaches. He's not at the stores buying the candy we give out so he doesn't realize the expense involved and that we could just keep the candy we buy and he would get a much greater "deal" and less "junky" candy. He really enjoys getting home and dumping his "loot". We then get to teach him self-control and I get to learn patience as he asks every day for more candy as I try, in vain, to ration it out as to not send his little body into mad fits of sugar rush and insulin resistance. I hate the candy part now that I am an adult and know the affects sugar has on our bodies. I could rant on this topic alone for days, but the next question is really where I hold my moral compass as my guide.
  5. I am not God and do not pretend to know all he knows, but based on Jesus' actions and words throughout the bible I feel confident in a few things. 
  • He most likely would not dress up as a ghoul and go door to door for sweets. 
  • He probably would not hide in his basement with the lights off, giving this day, that His father made, to the devil on a silver platter. 
  • He would be out in the neighbourhood, with His people whom he loves so much regardless of their religious views or lifestyle choices. 
  • He would try to be a blessing to those around Him and would pray for them, forgiving them and healing them of their pains. 
  • He would cast out demons and break off curses. 
  • Most importantly He would LOVE them.
So this halloween, like so many before, we will open our hearts and our door to serve our neighbours with kindness and love. As we serve the hot chocolate and heat up our fire pit in the front yard, we will talk to them and get to know them, if even for a minute. We will pray for them and bless them. We will pray that every foot that touches our property will be protected from the evil one and that their lives will be richly blessed. Until the Lord teaches us otherwise, we will just love our trick or treaters the best we know how. No our children won't go door to door, but they might visit the homes of the people we have met through the years, at least to say "Hi. Hey stop by our place we would love to bless you and warm your bellies with some hot chocolate and don't worry my daddy will come by to clean up the litter from the cups."

Bless you all for ready my views on the controversial halloween, feel free to share what you think or any ideas you might have on how to bright light to a dark night of the year. Below are some links to information regarding halloween.

Here's the link for the site we got the pumpkin carving templates from: http://pumpkinglow.com/Patterns4.htm. I will update with the finished products.

A brief explanation of halloween & it's origins (there are many out there, this one is brief and sums it all up well: http://www.halloween-website.com/history.htm

Focus on the Family: has a podcast that has a neat interview with a gentleman about Christianity & halloween.

And lastly, a couple of scriptures that I guided my heart in this matter: 

Matthew 22:36-40

New Living Translation (NLT)
36 “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?”

37 Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”

Matthew 4:23-25

New Living Translation (NLT)
23 Jesus traveled throughout the region of Galilee, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed every kind of disease and illness. 24 News about him spread as far as Syria, and people soon began bringing to him all who were sick. And whatever their sickness or disease, or if they were demon possessed or epileptic or paralyzed—he healed them all. 25 Large crowds followed him wherever he went—people from Galilee, the Ten Towns,[a] Jerusalem, from all over Judea, and from east of the Jordan River.

John 12:46-48

New Living Translation (NLT)
46 I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will no longer remain in the dark. 47 I will not judge those who hear me but don’t obey me, for I have come to save the world and not to judge it. 48 But all who reject me and my message will be judged on the day of judgment by the truth I have spoken.