****Update: to further the discussion*****
I came across this verse last night at our bible study and to me, it seemed to apply to this discussion and some of the comments. It is Romans 12:2
"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is---his good pleasing and perfect will."
People, let's get something clear right now! I am in no way claiming that I do everything right! I don't! I'm human and I fail because sometimes I choose what my flesh wants instead of what God wants. Sometimes I choose what's easy instead of what might be right, but hard. This discussion is meant to be an exhortation to make you think about something that maybe you've really never stopped to think about before. Some of you have, I know. But I'm also willing to bet that some of you haven't ever really thought about or looked into the history and true meaning of halloween. I did this post to bring awareness to the topic and to also share how God was working on me in regards to it and changing the way I have been addressing it with my family.
I feel like the above scripture really applies here. Now, are there things in my life where I conform. YES! I'm not gonna lie. But I'm here to take the plank out of my own eye. After hearing that scripture I came home last night and erased recordings of a few shows that I've been watching over the last few years. Shows that I knew had content that I don't need to be watching. (nothing crazy...just mainstream shows on the regular stations) So I erased them, and I won't be watching any of the upcoming episodes either. I desire to renew my mind. I want to see God's will. In order to do that, I can't conform to the patterns of this world. Are there other areas I need to look at. Yes! Who doesn't. But that's where God spoke to me as of last night.
I shared what I was letting go of because I think sometimes we too often use other peoples failures as our own justification for the choices we make. Other people should not be the standard. The Bible should be.
Just wanted to share something that's been on my mind this week....
My family does not celebrate Halloween in anyway. We don't do harvest parties, go trick or treating, etc. We have always totally ignored it basically. I was pointed in the direction of this article and it's made me think a bit.....
Should Christians Celebrate Halloween?
By Pastor Eric WattGuest Writer
CBN.com – What about Halloween?
Should you and I be involved in the celebration of Halloween?
Finding the answer to this question has been an interesting journey in itself. I interviewed several people and then researched what many leading Christian writers, authors and spokesmen have written about the subject. I also searched various websites like www.christianitytoday.com, www.focusonthefamily.org, and www.cbn.com to read what others might be saying. What I found was an agreement on the origins of Halloween, but a mixture of recommendations about allowing our children to participate in this super-charged media driven holiday.
The origins of Halloween are Celtic in tradition and have to do with observing the end of summer sacrifices to gods in Druidic tradition. In what is now Britain and France, it was the beginning of the Celtic year, and they believed Samhain, the lord of death, sent evil spirits abroad to attack humans, who could escape only by assuming disguises and looking like evil spirits themselves. The waning of the sun and the approach of dark winter made the evil spirits rejoice and play nasty tricks. Believe it or not, most of our Halloween practices can be traced back to these old pagan rites and superstitions.
But what about today? Perhaps we can still learn from history. In the fourth century, Christians attempted to co-opt the holiday by celebrating the lives of faithful Christian saints the day before Halloween. This was a conscious attempt to provide an alternative and re-focus the day away from ghouls, goblins, ghosts, witches and other “haunted” experiences. Since that time many Christians have decided to allow their children to dress in more “innocent” costumes of pumpkins, princesses, Superman or as a cowboy. Part of this is due to the simple reality that in today’s Western culture it is nearly impossible to “avoid” Halloween.
Just before reaching a conclusion on the subject, I was struck with the thought that I ought to further my search and find out what Wicca, the official religion of witchcraft, has to say about Halloween. Perhaps they viewed the day as a simple fun and innocent neighborhood activity?
“Shock” is the only word to describe what I found. Halloween is a real, sacred day for those who follow Wicca. In fact, it is one of two high and holy days for them. The Celtic belief of spirits being released is current, along with the worship of Samhain (the lord of death) – both are promoted as something to embrace on that day. There is no question in my mind that to those who believe and follow the practices of witchcraft, Halloween represents an opportunity to embrace the evil, devilish, dark side of the spiritual world.
So after discovering this, what is a reasonable conclusion? As Christians you and I are placed in this world to be a light in a world of darkness. There is no lasting benefit to ignore a holiday that exists around us, but it also does harm to celebrate Halloween as it has originated and grown over the centuries.
My suggestion? Christians should be teaching their children (age appropriately) that:
there is a spiritual world filled with goodness from God and evil from Satan (Eph. 2:1-10);
life with Christ has power over darkness (I John 4:4); and
those who celebrate Halloween either are unaware of its roots, or are intentionally promoting a world where evil is lauded and viewed as an ultimate power.
To counter the evil influence of Halloween, we need to join together and celebrate the reality of the heroic efforts of Christian saints over the evil in their day. Many leaders in the past -- and present -- have fulfilled the mandate of destroying the works of the devil through their sacrificial commitment to Christ and His Kingdom.
Too, rather than “hide” in the face of evil, we should unabashedly and boldly create an alternative that is positive and uplifting; that celebrates good over evil and the triumph of God over Satan. We need to provide an environment that also makes room for heaps of fun while using the day as a “teachable moment” to celebrate God’s protection, provision and purpose for our lives.
When I say that it's made me think....no it hasn't made me reconsider my decision to participate in trick our treating or that kind of stuff. It made me think about the fact that I'm totally ignoring it and not taking the opportunity to use it as a teachable moment with my kids. I've got some ideas stirring around in my head for next year on how to approach it in a more teachable way with my kids. I want to come up with an idea that will teach them about the scriptural perspective of spiritual warfare, and to celebrate God's power! I've got a year! If anybody has any ideas and wants to join in next year let me know. I'm excited to take this in a new direction and claim this day for God rather than ignoring it and just giving it to Satan.
Part of the reason this has all come up is because my daughter for the first year is feeling left out. And trying to teach her just the plain old history facts isn't really cutting it for her. I tried to explain it this way..... "Ok, Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus. But there are people all over the world who don't really believe in Jesus, but they still celebrate Christmas. In their mind it is just a fun holiday where they get to give and get gifts. But just because they aren't acknowledging the fact that it's really about the birth of Christ doesn't change the fact that it IS about the birth of Christ! So halloween is the same. Millions of people all over the world celebrate halloween as a fun holiday where they get to give and get candy. But just because they aren't acknowledging the satanistic history and meaning of it doesn't change the fact that that IS the real meaning of halloween." That helped a little!! =)