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Candle in the Night

Friday, November 1, 2013

Halloween: A New Perspective

Growing up in a conservative Christian home, we quit celebrating Halloween when I was around preschool age.  We would turn off all the lights and snuggle up with a movie while trick-or-treaters would pass our house.  Later, our church began having harvest parties and we'd go to those.  When I got married, my husband's family also didn't participate in Halloween, so it was just a given that we wouldn't as a married couple either.

Now, with a three year old who asks lots of questions, we've explained a little bit about what Halloween is and why we don't participate.  I have assumed this would be how we'd live the rest of our lives...until yesterday.




I've been reading post after post on what different Christian bloggers do for Halloween.  Some participate just for the harmless fun, some go the Trunk-or-Treat or harvest party route and use the day as a witnessing tool, and others hide out just like we do.  I find all the perspectives interesting and have been especially interested since my brother-in-law and sister do participate and my brother-in-law has many sources teaching about the origins of the holiday being non-pagan.  I won't go into those here because that's not what had an effect on me anyway.

My view has been that no matter the origins, there's nothing Christian left about the "holiday" and therefore, we should stay as far away as possible.  Much like my perspective of Christmas is that even though many believe it has pagan beginnings, it is now a time when Christians celebrate Christ and therefore, we observe it.

Here's what changed my mind.  

This is a post by Micah, a friend on facebook who although I don't know well, I do respect greatly for his family's strong values and beliefs.  Micah and Johanna are starting a ministry in Kansas City for area refugees and definitely have a heart for the community.
For our family, Halloween is our least favorite holiday, somewhere between Groundhog Day and Flag Day. We love the free candy, and carving pumpkins, but that's it. Our kids don't dress up, we don't trick or treat, etc. BUT we do decorate our house in fall decor, enjoy carving pumpkins, burn apple scented candles, read stories about the early church and the Reformers, buy big bags of candy for our kids as treats, and we open up our brightly lit home for each little lady bug, Captain America or ghoul that comes trick or treating. Though we don't have much to do with the holiday personally, we will open our door and love on strangers who do. And we intentionally teach our kids about what we are doing and why. It's our way of trying to be a bright shining light in a world in love with darkness. But remember, when THE LIGHT came to Earth 2,000 years ago, the darkness rejected him. That struggle continues today...so we will leave our light on while we still can.  
Wow.  What a witness this family is choosing to be to the families around them.  They aren't participating in any of the parts of Halloween that could be considered ungodly, but they sure aren't shutting their door to anyone either.

This hit me like a ton of bricks.

What other time of year do people come knocking on our door?  

Would Jesus have ever shut the door or ignored the knock if a pagan came knocking?  Did He?

Here's Johanna's post from this morning.

Here is our Little House in the Big City all lit up for Halloween! Micah turned off every light in the house, read Ephesians 5:8-14 to the kids, explained about being light in a dark world, and then told them how we are to shine our lights bright for all to see. Then he had them race around the house, turning ON every single light bulb in the entire house. You could practically see the meter spinning! BUT, our very bright house on a very dark street brought in 30 kiddos, and our family had a great time greeting each child, handing out generous amounts of candy with a smile, and meeting new neighbors. Not bad for just moving here! Like we said, we don't celebrate Halloween, but we love on those who do.
And I'm thinking even more now, that surely this family brought more ministry than mine did last night.

So next year, we'll be rethinking this whole business.  I have some ideas rolling around and of course, they'll have to be run by my husband, but I'm praying that in a time of utter darkness, instead of shutting our door and turning off our lights, our family will be a light for Jesus.  


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5 Comments:

At November 1, 2013 at 9:03 AM , OpenID daddystractor.com said...

Funny you should post this-- I saw something very similar (although much more snarky!) a few days ago and thought it was a really great idea! We live so far out in the country we've never had a single trick-or-treater in the ten years I've lived here, but it kind of made me wish we could do something like this! Blessings for your next year!!

 
At November 4, 2013 at 11:44 AM , Blogger Amy said...

This is pretty much my stance as well. (http://www.modernishhomemaker.com/2013/10/redeeming-halloween.html) . . . . I don't do scary decorations or scary costumes. But I do decorate for fall (it stays up through Thanksgiving) and do help with trick-or-treating. This year, since I don't get any trick-or-treaters at my house (because it's off an alley and fairly secluded) I helped out with trick-or-treating at the house of one of the ladies in my Bible study group. My church sponsored an event called "SHINE" and provided fun games, prizes and treat bags (with the church logo and website info printed on them - and can be used as good lunch sacks too). The Bible study ladies added candy to the mix. We handed out over 300 glow sticks and goodie bags before running out - and got to share about The Light of the World during a dark season. We also got to share in potluck food and fellowship amongst ourselves. I don't have kids and I've never been a big Halloween fan myself, especially now that I'm grown up (Christmas and Thanksgiving are my favorite holidays) - but this year was probably the most fun I've ever had for Halloween.

 
At November 4, 2013 at 12:04 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Something to think about... Christmas is pagan and there is nothing we can do to make Yahweh like it. If he is the same yesterday and today then why would we think it would be okay to observe pagan days and try to christianize them. Who are we to change his commandments and laws? According to his word we are not to do that. Especially considering the last days that we live in. Hear the word that the Yahweh speaks to you, O house of Israel. Thus says Yahweh:
“Learn not the way of the nations, nor be dismayed at the signs of the heavens because the nations are dismayed at them, for the customs of the peoples are vanity. A tree from the forest is cut down and worked with an axe by the hands of a craftsman. They decorate it with silver and gold; they fasten it with hammer and nails so that it cannot move. Jeremiah 10:1-4

See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Yahshua. Colossians 2:8

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your Yahweh. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. Exodus 20:8-11. We are in the great apostasy of the churches that the bible talks about. We are supposed to keep the true sabbath, Saturday. Sunday is also a pagan worship day. Do not be deceived. The houses of Yahweh or those claiming to be.... will be judged first. I would study revelation 2-3. Wherefore Yahweh said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men: Isaiah 29:13 I am telling you this as a warning out of loving my neighbor as myself. That is right men (constantine, roman catholic church) changed the sabbath and added pagan celebrations to so called Christianity. When Yahshua sets up his kingdom he will be keeping the sabbaths and the feast of the tabernacles which is the real holiday we are supposed to observe and passover not Easter. “Moreover also I gave them my Sabbaths, to be a SIGN between me and them, that they might know that I am Yahweh that sanctify them. (Ezekiel 20:12 )…And hallow my Sabbaths; and they shall be a SIGN between me and you, that you may know that I am YAHWEH your Elohim” (Ezek. 20:20 ).

 
At November 5, 2013 at 10:36 AM , Blogger Rachel R. said...

We've been wrestling over this for the past couple of years. For US, we believe that handing out candy as part of trick-or-treating is still participating in the celebration of things we don't find celebration-worthy. (And in our neighborhood, people are pretty good about just not coming up to the door if the porch light isn't on, so we aren't pretending not to be home or something.) But it's a day when people are readily willing to interact with strangers - or even to come to US! - so it seems a shame to pass up the opportunity.

I mulled over it for a while, trying to figure out how we can take advantage of the opportunity to interact with neighbors at a time when they're willing, while still being very obviously DIFFERENT from those around us. What finally came to me (too late to implement this year, unfortunately) was that WE can go door-to-door, GIVING people something, instead of ASKING for something. That's a pretty radical departure from the surrounding culture, but will still let us interact with neighbors in a positive way while they're already expecting to be opening their doors!

 
At November 5, 2013 at 12:21 PM , Blogger Amy said...

Ooo! I LOVE the idea of going door to door and GIVING something instead of asking for something! I think I may steal that for next year!

 

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