Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Is it a treat or just a trick?

I must tell you I have prayed about writing about Halloween for some time now. I have dear friends who celebrate this day and others who are against it. You are not going to find judgement in this post. You are not going to find me telling you that you are evil for celebrating this day. You will find me sharing scripture and truth. The bible is black and white. No where does it tell us, "You may not celebrate Halloween." It does give many verses about the evils of this world and how we are to not take part in them. So, the question is, "Do you think Halloween is evil?"

We have many churches now taking part in celebrating this day and changing the name, making it a day where families can come and take part and  not be of the world. To me, this is confusing. I cannot say changing the name is changing the day. But first, let me just share from my heart with a child's memory.

I did not grow up in a Christian home. We did celebrate Halloween and pass out candy. I came home with bags filled with treats. I remember one Halloween in particular when I was about eleven or so. I lived in a small town in the country where fall was beautiful. This night as my friends and I walked around we came to the house of an elderly woman. She came to the door with a smile and invited us in. I mean all the way into the kitchen where she had laid out candy apples and popcorn balls. I held a cup of hot chocolate as I gazed at this woman. There was something different about her. She didn't just stand at the door and hand out candy, she made a difference. She made me feel welcome and her home was inviting. I don't know if she was a Christian or not, but she made an impact on my life. Of all the homes I have ever visited on this night, it is her home that stands out. She didn't talk about scary things or have decorations up, just an inviting home for children to take part in a home made treat.

When my daughter Ashley was about two I took her out for her first Halloween. She was dressed in a bunny costume and looked adorable. She had her little bag as we began our walk through the town, and the first house we came to a woman dressed as a witch stepped out and screamed at my daughter with an evil laugh. My daughter began crying and was terrified. Needless to say, she was ready to go home. That was our first and only house. As I went home carrying my daughter I hated the fact that she was so scared and it was my fault. I placed her in that situation that brought tears.

Later on, my husband and I took our four children out to just a few homes of family and friends. We left Jacob at home with his grandparents since he was only a baby at this time. Our kids looked adorable. I painted each of their faces and dressed them in their sweet costumes. They were excited to take part, but our evening was called to an end when Jacob wanted momma and daddy home. That was the last night we took part in this day of celebration.

I know of many families who as Christians hand out tracks with their candy. I know of families who dress their children up as they too dress up. They just think of this day as a fun celebration of dressing up, having snacks and laughing. But is it really a day to laugh at? We ignore the beginnings of this pagan day. We ignore the evils about this day, but just because we choose not to look at them does that mean they are not there? I would like to share some verses with you as I ponder over this day.

Ephesians 5:8-13 "For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret."

Romans 12:1-2 "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you many prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God."

Romans 8:38 "For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, not height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Ephesians 6:12 "For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand."

1 Peter 5:8 "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour."

Deuteronomy 18:9-14 "When you come into the land which the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abomination to the Lord, and because of these abominations the Lord your God drives them out from before you. You shall be blameless before the Lord your God. For these nations which you will dispossess listened to soothsayers and diviners; but as for you, the Lord your God has not appointed such for you."

Now, with all those verses stated, what do you think? Is this a day we should partake in? We teach our children to stay away from strangers who want to give them candy, but on this night, we dress them up and send them on their way to grab handfuls of candy. Is it really a treat or is a just a trick of Satan? Is that what we are teaching our children? That is a double standard. Just because something looks good simply doesn't mean we should reach for it, right?

For our home we choose not to partake in this day. Does it mean we are right and another is wrong? No, it is just where we are in are walk. We all are at different places in life and we don't all have to agree. We can simply agree to disagree and love one another. For me, I love fall. I love the cool, crisp weather. I love the pumpkins and gourds. All the colors are inviting and to feel warmth of a fire just fills  my heart. There are many activities during this time of year and I love to walk along holding my husbands hand as we celebrate this coming season. I think it must be a personal choice. And that choice is between you and your family with Christ at the center. I do not believe this day has place in our churches. Now, if the Lord called me to go out into the streets and hand out tracks I would go. Would I hand out candy? No, for me, that is partaking in this day, but then what about the elderly women who invited me into her home and made an impact on my life? Should we invite others in? Should we be there with a smile? Can we be a light in this dark day? We are called to be a light in this world, but we are also called not be part of this world.

I know what Satan means for evil God can use for good. When I look at the life of Joseph I remember the verse in Genesis 50:20 "But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive."

Now, with that said, "Can we use this day for good?" Yes, I think so. If we turn this day into a day where we witness to others and share Christ we can. If we use this day to walk about dressed up and handing out candy, I am not so sure. I don't want to be that girl who stands for Christ, but then takes part in this world for my own good. Satan is out there waiting and watching. He knows all the tricks to grab our attention away from God. He knows our temptations and just how to trick us into thinking something won't harm us. On this day, may we turn to God in prayer asking Him for guidance. May we allow Him to lead us in this day. Not our flesh, or being afraid to say, "No, we don't participate in Halloween." May we stand in such a way that others know we are different, that we are taking a stand for Christ Jesus. May this world see a light not just on this day but  in us as walk each day.
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