Monday, October 31, 2011 - How is a Christian to respond to Halloween?
This post isn't specifically related to my personal journey of surrendering, but it was a significant process of the week and does involve surrendering in a sense...
Since having children my DH and I have wrestled with the "holiday" of Halloween. There is something in each of us that is sensitive to the fact that the roots of Halloween are Satanical and we obviously don't want any part of that.
The first Halloween we were married we had friends who attend a PCA church (with deep roots in the Reformation movement started by Martina Luther.) The husband was not in favor of Halloween, while the wife did not share his leaning, so they each had a party - both celebrating their Oct. 31st holiday - The husband had a Reformation Day Party, celebrating the Reformation Day of October 31, 1517 and the wife had a Halloween party - same address, same time...husband was dressed as Martin Luther himself! It was a social time for mostly their Christian friends, with food, pictures, and laughter. What a creative way to be set apart in the way they, as Christians, celebrated October 31! We attended the party for the following 6 years.
This year with Halloween being on a Monday and having two young kids and non-fabulous costumes (we've done a cute theme each year in the past), we opted to skip out on the Halloween/Reformation Day party.
For some reason (nostalgia/cultural pressure) we still wanted to "celebrate". Our son is now old enough to observe and understand the way the world works, so how do we introduce him to Halloween? Is it necessary as Christians to do it differently than the world? What does it look like to be called to be set apart? Does this apply to something like Halloween? And of most importance, how should we respond to this stirring (presumably by the Holy Spirit) in our consciences?
Do we just partake as not to make anyone feel awkward or give Christians the name of "prude"? Do we reject Halloween altogether or just celebrate Reformation Day? Do we join in but just not promote the ghost and goblin aspect of the holiday?
I am convicted that because of the directly Satanic ties to Halloween, it should look different the way, I, as a Christian, partakes in Halloween. I should be set apart in a way that the world is "surprised when you do not join them," even if they malign us (1 Peter 4:4). But for our family, I'm not sure if having no part of Halloween is the best call either.
And then there is the variable of: The Candy. Since our family strives to eat real food and not processed chemicals, a three pound bucket of individually wrapped high fructose corn syrup toxins does not align with our philosophy of treating one's body as the Temple of God.
So, we have a two fold challenge with October 31st: the Halloween heritage AND how it has evolved into a candy feast.
So, this year we "surrendered" traditional Halloween in a sense, and this was our last minute best attempt at honoring the holiness of Christ and be set apart as one who bears His name:
We took 8 food items from the pantry that our kids consider treats: raisins, go go applesauce, gum, cups of diced peaches, 100% juice fruit snacks, juice box, & fruit leather and pre-delivered them to our 8 surrounding neighbors. Daddy then took our firefighter and "butterfly princess" (what her brother called the "Fairy" costume:)) to collect their treats. They were delighted and returned to examine their loot. They were then just as excited to help Mommy pass out Dollar Tree Party Favors to the Trick or Treaters. I wasn't sure what kind of response we'd get from not having candy, but we had several positive responses and no overt negative ones! Next year I'll have to get some better ones for the older kids, but they weren't rude about it and I apologized at the end of the night that it was kind of picked over. (But that's what they get for being middle schoolers and trick or treating til 8:30pm!:))
I like the creativity of the dressing up and I like the relationship building opportunity with the neighbors and I like the set apartness in the candy aspect. Is it "right"? I don't know. Will people equate our being different with us honoring the holiness of Christ? I don't know. But for now, we believe it honors God by being in the world but not of the world in the way we respond to the evil and candy corruption of October 31st.
Abide in Love ~ Abound in Thanksgiving ~ Work in Joy...
Live Fully ~ Suffer Rightly ~ Trust Deeply ~ Bless Truly!
LISTEN & LEARN:
"Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths,
guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long."
~ Psalms 25:4,5