Sunday, October 24, 2010

Halloween - Part 4: My personal beliefs, some Q & A

If you have not yet read the preceeding 3 parts of this 4-part series, then I must request that you do so before continuing. It is a series for a reason and is in the order which I have presented it for a reason - it will make the most sense if you read it as it was meant to be read.
*(This is an updated repost of a series I did last year)*

Part 1: Jack-O-Lantern, Stingy Jack, Jack the Smith
Part 2: Origins - All Hallows Eve, All Saints Day
Part 3: How it all ties in, Christian response

PART 4:
I would like to open this post where I left off in Part 3- with the scriptures I noted there. They may help you to understand why I believe what I do.

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

Deuteronomy 18:9-12 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 his 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.

Ephesians 6:12-13 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against 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.

Joshua 24:15 And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

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And if it seems offensive to you to serve the LORD, choose once and for all whom you will serve; the gods of your ancestors, or the gods of those in whose land you reside... but as for me and my lineage, we will serve the LORD.
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What are my personal beliefs regarding Halloween?
Well, I believe that it is a celebration that pleases Satan. I think that children dressed as demonic creatures pleases Satan. I think that carrying out the pagan religious ceremonies of setting out Jack-O-Lanterns and acting out the distribution of sweets to bribe the evil spirits to move along is pleasing to Satan. I think the fact that Christians don't know (or don't want to know) what what they are doing represents when they take their children Trick Or Treating gives the devil a big ol' happy boost. I think that when children act out being an unholy being it is spiritually unhealthy, even harmfull to them. I think that even if a child is dressed as an angel or Superman they are still acting out the story of demons visiting homes to threaten tricks if not presented with a treat.

How were my husband and I raised regarding celebrating or not celebrating Halloween?
When I was a child my family did not celebrate Halloween. We would lock up our animals and pray that some cult or prankster wouldn't get ahold of them and torture them for the glory of the evil one. We would sometimes leave the house and go eat dinner out to avoid the bombardment of costumed kids incessantly beating at the door demanding candy. Sometimes we would turn out all the lights and watch a movie, but they would come anyway and shine flashlights in our windows and beat on the door for a long time. It scared us kids to have our home assaulted that way. I never slept well that night.
When my husband was a child his family did celebrate Halloween. He has two older brothers. They dressed in costume and went trick or treating. His family never gave any thought to it, just thought of it as harmless and did it because they'd always done it and it was fun. My husband was raised in church, good Christian boys from a good Christian family. His family still thinks of it as harmless fun but my husband has now, as an adult, been convicted against celebrating it.

Did I ever feel deprived by not being allowed to go Trick or Treating?
Yes and no. Not really. I felt deprived of the chance to dress up in a way and at a time that was not glorifying to Satan. This deprivation would have still been there even had I been out trick or treating. I would still have felt like I would have been more proud of my costume if it were done somewhere, somehow, that would glorify my LORD. I also felt deprived of the chance to glutton myself on free candy. Lol! A very shallow and childlike thing to pout over of course, so I got over it after just a few Halloweens. My family was too poor to buy candy. I imagine my kids will not have this problem since my husband and I are not so poor we can't afford some sweets. ;) And even if they do feel deprived of treats, that is NOT a sufficient reason to participate in something we don't feel right about.

What about Church Harvest Parties or Trunk-or-treats?
Well, I went to a Church Harvest Party (Church costume event for Halloween to keep kids off the streets) when I was about 11. I felt so betrayed when I stepped inside this house of GOD and saw little witches and demons asnd fairies running around with Jack-O-lantern buckets! In the CHURCH! My little 11 year old heart broke and I felt positively sick to my stomach. I had been under the impression that the purpose of the Harvest Party was to have something for the Christian kids to do on Halloween that would be glorifying to God instead of Satan and when I saw that it was just a big trick or treat party in the Church I started crying and wanted to go home. I told my parents I didn't ever want to go to another Church Harvest Party. I felt morally raped.
My husband tells me that a trunk-or-treat was what his childhood Church did. People would park in the Church parking lot and open their candy-filled car trunks and the kids would go from car to car trick-or-treating. Basically still trick or treating in the pagan traditional manner except with cars instead of houses. Still carrying jack-o-lantern buckets, dressed in costume, going from car to car repeating the intonation "trick-or-treat!"
I think that Christians should pray carefully about these alternative activities just as they should pray carefully about the traditional ones. See what God tells you. IMO if the Church Harvest Party had turned out to be what my hopeful little 11 year old heart had expected, it would be a great alternative. If you can find an alternative in your church or group that is truly glorifying to God rather than just being a tamer version of the pagan celebration, then I would be all over it!
We won't allow our children to participate in anything where there are children and/or adults dressed up as evil things or even some seemingly innocuous mythical creatures, so this would eliminate Church Harvest Parties like the one I attended as an alternative for my kids. I would love to have a Harvest Party where the children could dress up in wholesome costumes and the focus would be on something other than candy. I wouldn't mind in the least if it were not even ON Halloween- in fact that would be a plus to me I think, since I'm not looking to celebrate Christianized or tamed Halloween, I am rather looking for an outlet for my kids to glorify God by dressing in costume and socializing with other kids in an uplifting way. Perhaps when my kids are older I will host such a thing for other Christian families looking for an alternative fall activity. Hmmm the possibilities! Of course I will have to discuss it with the hubby and do some praying... I was browsing a blog back in October of 2009 where the blogger just did a Harvest Party and I thought it looked wonderful and like so much fun! Wish I still had the link so I could show you. The kids dressed as historical characters and gave a presentation on their character. What a terrific idea! Do any of you host or attend a wholesome alternative to Halloween? I'd love to hear about it!

What do I think about other Christians celebrating Halloween?
Frankly I think that it would be wrong of me not to present my fellow believers with the truth of the origins of Halloween in case they do not know. I have a very difficult time conversing in public. I'm the oldest of 3 siblings and, strangely, the only one who is cripplingly shy in public. My brother is not going to win any socialite awards but he gets along more than passably well with other humans. My sister could win socialite of the century; she is chipper and witty and friendly. I seem to be the only one who did not inherrit any one-on-one communication skills! So when I get asked by friends and family, "Why don't you celebrate Halloween? It's just harmless fun, right?" I can't seem to express clearly what I'm trying to say. I have a whole speech ready the instant they are out of sight but when conversing one on one it's like I revert back to the vocabulary level of a toddler. That is one reason why I decided to write this blog series on Halloween, originally posted in October of 2009. I am so much better at expressing myself in the written word when I have the time to do so. So now when I get disbelief, scorn, dirty looks, or questions or whatever I will be able to direct people to my blog to answer the burning question, Why don't we celebrate Halloween? The other reason I wrote this is because there are alot of dear friends with whom the subject has never come up. Like I said before, I believe it would be wrong of me to not present the origins of Halloween so that people know. If I believe God wants me to do something and I do not do it, it would be a sin. As for what other people do with it after I tell it... that is between them and GOD.

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Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin. -James 4:17
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What should I do on Halloween?
Well, you know, I just don't know. I will admit I'm still in prayer and pondering on this one. Should I hand out tracts and candy? That kind of makes me uneasy because then I'm opening the door of my home to 'monsters/ghosts/demons/witches' in front of my vulnerable children. Even if the babies are in bed, the whole symbolism of trying to evangelize kids dressed as scary evil things by playing along with something I believe is wrong seems to be contrary to scripture. Be ye IN the world but not OF it? But is hiding from them or avoiding them the right choice? I don't know. I really don't. I was reading HERE that if our only “light” to our neighborhood comes by celebrating Halloween, via trick or treating or handing out candy, than something is really wrong! If you have any thoughts on this dilemma I would love to read them and add them to my ponderings. ;) We have lived in this town since 2005. The first Halloween I think we went out to eat, the next year we handed out tracts and candy and the trick or treaters were almost all dressed as hellish things or chopped up murder victims and they scared the poor dog half out of her mind which led to barking which scared baby Chicklet half out of HER mind and the poor little boy dressed as a demon whom my 50-pound pit bull was barking at was scared about out of HIS mind too. The next two Halloweens we just watched a movie with the lights out but the kids here are awfully rude and foolish and beat on the door anyway even with the porch light and inside lights out. In 2007 they were throwing things at our house because we wouldn't answer the door. In 2009 we posted a sign saying we do not celebrate Halloween on our door for those kids who ignore the porch light being out, but half of them just ignored the sign too and beat on the door yelling and roaring. But if we go out to eat everyone is dressed up in the restaurant with gory dead body parts and skeletons hanging around the food. Not what I want my kids to be seeing, and not what I like to view with my dinner. *sigh* I really am not sure what we will do this year yet. Stay home and have a family movie night most likely, and hope the neighborhood kids don't try to vandalize our home or scare our kids this year.

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Respectful, calm comments, spoken with Christ's love, are welcome. Any comment that comes across as rude, disrespectful, evil, mean spirited, or playing 'devil's advocate' literally, will be deleted at my discretion. It's my blog and I reserve the right to delete as I see fit.

2 comments:

I love Comments! ♥ Please remember to mind your manners though. ;)