why we don’t “do” halloween

First of all, let me say that I am not condemning any of my Christian friends who are posting pictures of their kids dressed up in costumes and preparing to help at their church’s “Fall-Festival/Carnival/Whatever” alternatives for Halloween.

This is just MY opinion and the reasons behind and the way we got to skipping Halloween.

Halloween

My two sons are grown and married now, so this is ancient history. But the subject of Halloween and whether to do or not to do it came up with a good friend who has small children and is facing the same questions I did at this stage, so in light of the season, I thought I’d share with you also.

First, some a-little-more-than-ancient history (we’re talkin’ stone age here) my birthday is the day after Halloween. As you probably already know if you’ve visited here before, I’m also a type 1 diabetic for the past forty-some years. Me and Halloween had issues, okay? We celebrated it when I was a kid growing up in a Christian home. Most often, it was combined with my birthday. I both loved and hated it. Loved the dressing up (I often made up my own costumes, so that’s always fun) but hated collecting a bunch of goodies I couldn’t eat. I was often the very sickest each year because of stinkin’ Halloween/birthday because I could always figure out where the stash was hidden or would overdo it on birthday treats. What can I say? Such was the life of a child with diabetes in the seventies. It was a lot harder to figure how to dose to cover candy and other treats. But I (hugely) digress…

My boys are four years apart. When the youngest was still a toddler, we always dressed them up in very non-scary costumes. I had the crayon, lion, Mickey Mouse and scarecrow costumes from my eldest that my baby son just had to wear, of course. We didn’t think much about the consequences of participating in the traditions. Not only were our babies babies, but my husband and I were babies ourselves, both spiritually and emotionally…and physically for that matter. We just hadn’t put any thought into how we’d handle it when they were older nor what the holiday even meant or represented.

I have seen heated and ugly debates online between Christians about whether or not it was appropriate or whatever to celebrate this holiday and I DO NOT want to do or start that here. PLEASE understand me when I tell you I am not looking for any division to come from this. I just want to offer you, perhaps, another perspective and give you some things to think about.

To begin, let me share the testimony my friend had found on Facebook that started the discussion between us.

A Former Witch’s View on Halloween by Carol Komancki

“I see images of Christians being slaughtered for their faith—- blood everywhere, children- young adults -grown men/women- willing to die rather then deny Christ—— it takes my breath away.
What I don’t understand is when Christians celebrate Halloween, decorate with gory bloody images, put up skeletons and images of death and darkness, without a second thought! And they will argue and debate trying to make it okay and refuse to give up celebrating that nite!
I am an ex witch, saved by the blood of Jesus Christ, when I was practicing witchcraft, Halloween was the biggest night of the year for those practicing the occult. People try to say it’s about the candy and fun, it goes way deeper then that!
The roots of this highly pagan holiday remain the same, it’s a night of death -darkness- gore—- and no matter how much you dress it up to make it pretty, no matter how many excuses you make, it’s a night to celebrate Samhein——– the god of the dead!
I don’t recall those who practice paganism coming on Christmas morning to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ the Lord of life.
Yet Christians will celebrate the pagan ritual of Halloween —–the god of death and darkness. …..
I don’t care to debate….
You can do whatever you choose —-but it won’t change the truth or the facts!!!!”

I think we all know that the origins of Halloween are not particularly good. As we often do, though, we’ve ‘tamed it down’, we’ve turned what can be dangerous into something cute and fun. We’ve said “It’s just for fun. We’re not playing with a Ouija board or anything, for crying out loud!” I have read many different articles and books about what Halloween means, what it represents and how it is diametrically opposed to all that God represents. As Christians, we serve a RISEN FROM THE DEAD Savior who’s all about LIFE. Halloween is all about death. No matter how much fun dressing up is, how innocent that is on its own, when I do it to participate with Halloween, MY belief is that it ceases to be innocent.
occult

So our experience…once the boys were a little older and we were in the beginning of our homeschooling adventure, we started to discuss what Halloween was and talk about what we, as a Christian family, should do or think about it. We came up with this idea of dressing up as Biblical characters. At the time, I thought, “Sure. That’s a great trade-off. They can “witness” while they trick-or-treat.”

I went to great lengths to create this Goliath suit for my eldest and a shepherd costume for the youngest. The shepherd was easy. We even got a patch of leather and some leather “string” and made an old fashioned sling! For Goliath, I spray painted an old pair of his tennis shoes with silver metallic paint. Made him a breast plate, shield, arm and leg guards out of poster board and painted those too. I then used some of the leather strap to tie them on and drew in the details with a black sharpie. It was pretty awesome looking if I do say so myself! (of course, I can’t locate a photo of it to show you!)

The day finally arrived. Hubby and I headed out with the boys, armed with a couple weeks’ worth of studying the story so they could tell people about who they were and many discussions about why we were approaching Trick-or-Treating this way. They were so anxious for someone to recognize who they were, but no one had a clue. Most of them would ask, as people usually do, but when the boys told them, almost every single person just got a blank look on their faces. No one even knew who David and Goliath were and the one time our eldest tried to explain, the person wasn’t interested. Once he said, “They are people from the Bible who…” the person just sort of cut him off and proceeded to do something else. The youngest didn’t really perceive what had happened, but our big boy? He was certainly disappointed and my heart hurt for him.

Besides this awful experience, there was everyone else’s costumes. Most all of the other ones we saw were gory, monster-y type of costumes. Some of them were really hideous with lots of bloody guts and such. I could tell the boys were a little shocked, if not scared at the sight of them. I felt like it was something we shouldn’t be exposing them to.

I was rethinking my idea of “trade-offs” with Halloween. Later, it came to me that wiccans don’t show up at church for the Christmas play with their Book of Wiccan in hand, ya know? Why were we, as Christians, trying to share Jesus with people on a holiday that has NOTHING to do with our faith? Even if not all of them were celebrating “the true meaning” of Halloween, why were we trying to shine a light in the middle of a holiday with its roots firmly planted in very dark, and yes, fully evil, ideals and origins?

I’m not saying, of course, that we shouldn’t try to shine God’s light when we are in dark situations or places, but should we step into a very dark holiday, to shine it there while we sorta-kinda participate in it? While we play with the fringes of it?

That’s something I contemplated and chewed on for many years, even before this Halloween that I just described to you. After that experience, we just decided as a family that Halloween would be an extra special family-fun night at home. My kids never suffered any ill effects from not going door to door to beg candy while dressed in a costume. *smile*

jesus-pumpkin

For a couple of years, we took part in Halloween alternatives at different churches. I don’t think if I had young children now that we’d do this. The first time we did it, it was actually fairly well-done, and by that I mean that it really didn’t have a lot to do with Halloween at all. However, many people that showed up didn’t really seem to “get” that this was something to do instead of traditional Halloween activities. I DO understand the idea behind churches having these events at all…that it’s an attempt to give church kids and families a way to do fun stuff on a night when most everyone else is taking part in more dark-themed parties and such. But it’s not presented this way for the most part. Now I have also had friends or seen other churches do a “Reformation Day” event, and I’ll admit that I don’t fully understand what that is other than a celebration of Martin Luther’s nailing of his 95 Theses to the door of “The Church”. [I’ve linked some words so that you can research more if you want] This is linked primarily to the Catholic and Presbyterian churches. Because I was raised in a different denomination, this event wasn’t emphasized or really taught to me. However, when I have seen photos of one of these events, they were also dressed up, but as historical figures from that era, not as random characters or superheros or monsters. Now, that may not be the usual practice for Reformation Day at churches. This was a congregation made up of mostly homeschool families, so that might have just been unique to them, ya know? ALLLL that to say this:
halloween-alternate
I think IF a church is going to do something like this, it should be markedly different from a Halloween event. And that’s just my opinion because the last time we did this at another church, it was very disappointing to me and confusing to my kids. Don’t host a Halloween alternative event at your church and then have it look exactly like what the world’s doing, right? I mean, that’s how I see it.

Our family’s journey to really rejecting Halloween was sort of meandering and wandering more than anything. It wasn’t some decision we made all of a sudden. And it’s still kind of a fuzzy area, even now that our kids are grown and married. I mean, we still have friends who don’t feel the way we do or maybe haven’t arrived at the place we did after our own journey, ya know? But I believe it is definitely worthy of discussion and civil, loving debate. It’s something that families should talk about and decide where they stand on the topic. What is your opinion and how does it line up with what scripture says? I believe it’s something we should settle within ourselves, within our families if you have young children. The topic is going to confront you…halloween-shouldChristiansRomans 14:5 – “…Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.”

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God’s place, God’s time…

I’ll try to make this follow-able, understandable, but I can’t promise it will be.  Just do the best you can.  🙂

When I first got on Facebook, I started a group page for graduates from my high school… for the entire 80’s decade.  Yup.  Everyone who graduated from 1980 through 1989.  The school underwent a name change after that when it became South “County” High School because they had build a new high school that was called North “County”.  All of us who went there during the days when it was the only high school in the county were bummed that when you did a search for the school, it would only come up as “South” or “North”.  Hmph.

Anyhow, I ended up with a TON of people on my friend list since anyone who joined had to be my friend since I was determined that a bunch of people outside that time frame not be in the group.  Not to be exclusive necessarily, but because the 80’s were just so cool, y’know.  Ha.

And so, that’s how I ended up with so many “friends”, many who I don’t really know other than they went to my high school in the 80’s.  And that’s how Sasha* ended up on my list.

She’s been on it for quite awhile and I always appreciated her posts.  She seemed like a very committed Christian mother and wife.   We didn’t really interact so much other than to like each other’s stuff and occasionally comment.

Then Saturday happened.

She posted about needing prayer because she was prejudice.  Turns out, none of the people who commented thought that was so.  But because she had got out of a drive-thru lane when she saw a lady in middle eastern style clothing (don’t want this to come up in searches for certain words… overlook my not using the titles for this type of clothing).  Anyhow, I commented that I felt the same way but that didn’t make us prejudice.  There was lots of talk about being cautious and language barriers, etc.  And that was that.

Then a bit later, I posted a link to this (yeah, you need to go read it) and I posted this comment along with it:::

This used to make me insane when i was in school. I have to say, I believe this mother was right on the mark with her response! That teacher should have been disciplined for not making the boy stop. Reminds me of a teacher I had who was beyond inappropriate when a boy was bothering me in class (he was grabbing my pencil away from me during a test) I don’t even remember who the boy was now, but I remember this man’s response when he looked up and saw him snatch my pencil… I won’t put it here because it was just pervy but it makes me sad that I didn’t feel I had anyone to report that to back then. I wish I had at least mentioned it to my parents. Not sure it would have had any sort of result, but I wish I had now. As it was, I just sat there, embarrassed out of my mind and hated that teacher more than usual.

Not long after that, I got a private FB message from her asking who the teacher was.  We messaged back and forth; me giving her the name and her telling me about two incidences that had happened with two other teachers and her frustration that one of them was witnessed by a third teacher who just rolled his eyes and shook his head.  We lamented how things like that were not reported when we were kids and such.  Then her messages just stopped.  I assumed she’d got busy or something.  It wasn’t a big deal, but later I saw she  had commented back on her ‘prejudice’ post that FB messages had stopped working and wondering if I’d got her last message and that she’d like to continue the conversation.  I gave her my email address and soon we were messaging back and forth like long lost friends.

I told her what exactly had been said by the teacher from my post.  [When he looked up to see a boy reaching across the aisle to grab my pencil repeatedly he said, “______”, (using my last name) “if you want to make love to him, go out in the hall.”]

*insert incredulous face here*  Yeah.  I was mortified and didn’t know what to do.  He was a real gem of a fella *SARCASM* normally, so this wasn’t out of character, just a bit more over the top than usual.  That’s when Sasha asked if I’d gotten her message about being kidnapped and raped by a fellow student when she was a freshman!

I was stunned!  Obviously, I had NOT got that one, so she directed me to a status post she’d put up a few weeks ago that I had not seen.  In it she talked about this incident and how it was years before she realized that a crime had been committed against her and how she’d tried to cope as a teen with alcohol and how God had since healed her.  She eventually told me who had done this, both his name and the name of the boy who had helped carried her to the truck and drove.

She said she was hesitant to tell me since I had this man’s wife as an FB friend, so I explained that I didn’t even know this lady.  When she told me who, it struck me that normally, I never see status updates from her.  Either because she doesn’t post often or just because they don’t show in my newsfeed.   But for the past week or two, I’d been seeing these posts from  her about her husband being sick and having to have surgery.  I hadn’t thought anything of it since I don’t know them, but after this revelation, I felt God had put them there.  I don’t know WHY, but for whatever reason, He wanted to me see this info about this man.  And the other thing?  Just that day, the wife had posted a photo of him sitting in a chair in the hospital.  That was the first time I’d ever seen him and I didn’t recognize him.  Perhaps I need to be able to though?  I just don’t know, but for all that to have happened in that order, at that time was just too much.  I don’t believe in coincidences, so I believe, for whatever reason, God orchestrated all that stuff… me seeing those posts, seeing his picture, connecting with Sasha and getting on a subject to where she would share that info with me.

Of course, then there was the additional stuff… like me just pouring out my heart and telling her about all the things I’ve been dealing with lately, even the intimacy issues in my marriage and that I’d started seeing a therapist for depression.  She then sent a reply telling me that she deals with depression too and basically describing me by telling me how she isolates and has no energy, etc.

So, I really wish Sasha didn’t live in Michigan now!  It’s just uncanny how much we have in common while also having such different backgrounds.  And we just connected SO well almost instantly.

God’s pretty amazing the way he does things.

Proverbs 17:17 — A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”

*not her real name, obvs

and why God is so extremely good…

So if you read my previous post, you might, well…. you might be passed out on the floor because I’ve posted twice in one day. Ha ha! But you might be interested to know that I spent the evening with three of the most precious ladies in my life.

What a complete “God thing” it is that tonight would be the usual meeting night of these ladies. After my long post about my mindset on friends and how I don’t have that many in my life and how hard it is for me to make true and actual friends…

These ladies are part of what’s called a “reunion group” in the Emmaus community. It’s similar to a small group. We meet to talk about our walk with Jesus, the struggles we’re having, the victories we’ve realized and we pray for and support each other. We hold each other accountable.

I stopped going to the meetings except for the rare occasion when I started selling Mary Kay because I always had some MK thing to do on that night.

I missed my friends, my sweet girls, so much, but felt I had no choice. God took care of that for me. Or maybe that’s not exactly what He was doing or why my health went downhill so much that I couldn’t continue with MK, but nonetheless, I was SO happy to meet back up with my little core group of women tonight.

The group has grown and shrank (shrunk?!) and changed over the past few years since I became a part of it, but this core group of women has always been there, so it was nice to go back tonight and it just be us.

As I’ve shared in previous posts, I have secluded myself during this last bout of depression. I cut myself off from pretty much everyone. But my little core group of gals from the reunion group would still text to see if I was coming or how I was doing.

So tonight, there was a lot of heavy burdens we all had to share. I felt like, for most of the evening, that I wouldn’t add my stuff to the pile. It didn’t seem appropriate or I didn’t feel comfortable or as if it was “the right time” to share this stuff with them.

I honestly thought I would just keep it all to myself. I mean, there were three other people there. Did I really want to tell them this stuff that was so deeply painful? Did I want to trust them with that?

Well, yeah, I am kinda just telling the internet, but somehow, that’s different than looking someone in the face and saying, “Hey, I have lived 40 some years with this huge despair in my life and I’m having a hard time carrying it lately.” “Sometimes I don’t want to live anymore.” “I have this deeply personal sorrow in my life that I cannot share with just anyone–can I share it with you? Do you care enough to listen and pray?” Then hope that they are as trustworthy as you think and that they then care enough to … not ‘deal with’ but support you while you deal with your pain.

That’s a scary thing to do. The issues with my marriage I have only entrusted to two other people before tonight. One proved to be entirely trustworthy. The other, and first, did not. Tonight, I praise God for three women who love me and Jesus enough to have listened to me and who I know will pray for me as I make this journey.

So, on the day I write a post about how I have come to be so slow to label someone “friend”, I am supremely thankful that God put three more of those people in my life.

He really is a loving, merciful Savior!

Deuteronomy 4:31 — “For the Lord your God is a merciful God. He will not leave you or destroy you or forget the covenant with your fathers that he swore to them.”

Psalm 112:4 — “Light dawns in the darkness for the upright; he is gracious, merciful, and righteous.”

Proverbs 17:17 — “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”

.of inTer.eSt

Bakerlady

Emily

Just discovered this blog… I was originally drawn to it because of the AWESOME recipes.  Then, as I went to copy the main link to add here, I found a beautiful devotional post and so I’m thrilled to share with you the blog of both an awesome cook AND a fellow Christian.  Hope you will go visit Bakerlady

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