Thursday, October 24, 2013

Halloween - All Hallow's Eve

I have always loved Halloween.  As a kid who often felt uncomfortable in my own body, Halloween was the time I could be whatever I wanted.  For my family, Halloween has always been about imagination and fun games and being whom ever you want to be.

I understand some Christians don't like the scary stuff and some of the occult themes that come out in movies around Halloween.  But the history of Halloween itself is very old and includes Christianity.
Halloween as we have it today is a mish-mash of many different traditions that came out of a pre-Christian Europe that was scared of spirits and made sacrifices to keep evil spirits away.  As Christian missionaries came into Europe, they explained the Jesus' death and resurrection means we do not have to be afraid of death or dying.  Our spirits are in heaven, not haunting the earth.  Missionaries changed the day from one of fear to one of celebration, laughter and remembering our dead on November 1st which is All Saints Day.  (Don't believe me, read another author's perspective here)

Unfortunately, some Christian denominations do not require their clergy to go to seminary or college.  They don't learn the history of missionaries and the church as well as they should.  So some Christian churches have started to campaign against Halloween and saying we shouldn't participate in Halloween.  They point out that the Christian missionaries were Roman Catholic and that their beliefs about purgatory are just as bad as the pagan's ideas.  However they forget that the Roman Catholic Church was the ONLY Christian church at that time and that every denomination has its roots in Catholicism.  Yes, our beliefs about the soul have changed and we have rejected the idea of purgatory, but what the missionaries did in transforming pagan practices into Christian is what we should still be doing today.

The Apostle Paul said, "I have the right to do anything, but not everything is beneficial"  1 Corinthians 10:23.

The question isn't: should I or shouldn't I celebrate Halloween??
The question is always:  What should I do that is beneficial to my spirit and to the faith of others who see me?

If you can celebrate Halloween focusing on how your faith makes you unafraid, not dwelling on occult movies, having fun with your imagination -- then I say: Go for it!

If you get suckered into fear and your kids are dwelling on the yucky killing/murdering side of Halloween -- Then I say:  take a step back!   Spend some time thinking this through and maybe take a year away from it.

The first year my sons came home was in August and they were still adjusting to everything in America and didn't understand the concept of Halloween at all.  So we took that year off.  We carved pumpkins and went to a church party but that was it.   When they were more grounded and could understand better what I was explaining about Halloween we went all out and had fun.

With all things, go forward in prayer and listening for God's leading you in the right path!

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