Photo Credit: http://blog.tinyprints.com/Cards/fall-decorating-ideas/
A post I was reading re-kindled a few thoughts I have studied in depth on Holidays. I thought I would share them here. Today I will share specifically on Halloween, later on I will post more on other Holidays especially Biblical Holidays.
While I will primarily rely on Wiki Links for my sources know that I have done furious research in the past to this effect and I would encourage anyone with a passion for anything to do the same. (thorough research, be a Burriean as Paul states)
There is a great debate in the Christian community about Halloween and what should Christians do about it?
Here I thought I would shed some light on some preconceived notions.
Halloween is not a secular holiday.
Yes you heard me correctly. Halloween is actually based on a Christian root. Misunderstanding early Christians clinging to the Abraham's Bosom of the Old Testament came up with this idea of purgatory when told that Abraham's Bosom no longer existed. (as Christ abolished the need for separation from the Father through his death and resurrection) The idea was that recently deceased would go to purgatory to wait until the one time every year that they could all continue on into heaven. This continuation was All Hallow's and therefore All Hallow's Eve was a day to celebrate the saints and bless them as they went into paradise. As you can guess the Devil knowing full and well that the idea of purgatory being false used this idea to spark fear. It was twisted by saying that souls could haunt the earth on all hallow's eve and seek their revenge one final time before entering their final destination whether that be Heaven or Hell. This incited fear and people would don costumes to hide from the spirits. This tradition spread much more than honoring the saints. (The devil is clever you know!) and now it has become either very ugly or very perverse.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halloween
So how do we fix it? How do we celebrate a holiday that has become so ugly?
Personally I don't think abstaining is a good idea. Jewish kids in this country that abstain from Christmas celebrations are often jealous of friends and neighbors that get to participate and there becomes a negative stamina about their parents ideals on the holiday. Here is what my family is doing to "change what is"
1. We will be doing costumes, I think letting kids "dress up" spurs creativity and helps them to grow and learn. However we will be doing "cute" costumes and later on (once they are out of baby phase) they will have to come up with creative costumes. i.e. my sister one year got a bunch of mini boxes of cereal and knives glued to some black clothing and went as a cereal killer . . . Which they can then help to build. We will not allow Gory, Gross, Demonic or Sexual Costumes. We will be emphasizing that this is just for fun etc.
2. We will not be participating in Trick-or-Treating. There really is no need for all the sugar and etc. Instead we will be eating a healthy "feast" and trying to talk any family members or friends into joining us.
3. Fall activity time. The week surrounding Halloween will be perfect for creating fall luminaries, wreaths, and garlands. As well as making pumpkin pies, pumpkin spice lattes and other fall favorite recipes.
and finally 4. The most important part I think is to give kids a proper understanding of what happens after we die. We will discuss Christ and what we can expect as "souls". This will more than likely change in what it looks like as our kids grow, but this is what I want to center our conversation around as we feast with friends and family.
Other things we may or may not do as a family throughout the years to come:
Harvest Carnivals- I think there are so many cool fall celebrations that we could attend at churches. They are also a great outreach to kids who don't know the Lord.
Fall nature walks- How much fun is it to watch the leaves change and collect pine cones and sticks? Nature is glorious and God gave us so much to see why shouldn't we see it?
Opening our doors- I think it's important to reach out as much as we possibly can and using a holiday to reach out and preach is a really great thing. So can the neighbor, stranger, neighborhood kids join our feast?
Have a Halloween Party to celebrate what an amazing gift we have to know that when we are absent from our bodies we will be present with the Lord.
This kind of "Godizing" modern holidays is what early Christians had to do with Christmas and Easter, which today are commonly known as Christian holidays but actually hold roots in pagan holidays. If they could turn a pagan day into a Christian one we can certainly turn a Christian holiday into a Christ focused holiday once again!
How do you plan to make God and/or Fall the center of your Halloween Celebration?