Wednesday, October 15, 2008

To Halloween OR Not To Halloween?

Halloween Is More Than Candy And Costumes!

Dear Friends,

God has placed it upon my heart to share with you some things regarding Halloween. I have discovered in the past few years that many Christian are unaware of the origin and history of Halloween and therefore celebrate this pagan holiday. We are to be watchful about everything so that the enemy can't slip stuff past us. What does God's Word have to say on the subject?

First, let me say that you will not find anywhere in the Bible where a command (an explicit, authorized, non-negotiable instruction in accordance with the Word of God) is given that reads thou shall not participate in Halloween, but there are many principles (implied, general truth that is to be used as a basis for reasoning and conduct) in the Word of God that would strongly point to a believer not participating in Halloween activities. Some scriptures you can look up to see how God feels about the underlying activities that are apart of Halloween are: Deuteronomy 18:9-14, Exodus 22:18, Acts 19:11-16, Ephesians 6:10-18, Ephesians 5:1-14.

I was encouraged at our church service last night that we should respond to Halloween with gospel compassion, meaning that we are painfully aware that those who do not have a relationship with Christ face a great terror, which is God's wrath, on Judgement Day if they have not accepted Him.

In my article below you will see what I have done regarding Halloween for my family. At the same time, celebrating Halloween is a matter of conscience before God, so you need to make your own, informed, decision. I pray that after you have checked out the history, read my article below, and prayed about it yourself that you will be fully persuaded not to participate in Halloween activities knowing that each person individually will stand and give an account to God of ourselves.

HE Reigns!

QUESTION? As a Christian, how do you feel about Halloween? Have you ever thought about how God might feel about it? Do you care? We get so caught up in the hype--candy in every store is tempting each one of us to dive in. Halloween stores are stocked up with costumes and trick-or-treat bags for carrying all the candy. Lots of people have their homes decorated. Haunted houses are sending out invitations and posting signs everywhere, and those ever-famous hay rides are being packed with hay for the ride of your life on a night celebrating pagan worship. OUCH! Did anyone just fall off the wagon:)? What I am really asking is has it never crossed your mind that ghosts, goblins, witches, and skeletons are characters from the "dark" side? So have you just gone along with Halloween because it is a holiday on the calendar and everyone seems to celebrate it? I know, I know, you don't let your children dress up in "bad" costumes; instead they are angels and princesses and camels, etc. BUT my question is, when God looks down on earth on Halloween night will HE wonder why His children are participating, in any way?

As believer's we cannot afford to have an "If you can't beat them, join them" attitude.

Ephesians 4:17-24 says, With the Lord's authority I say this: Live no longer as the Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly confused. Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him. They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity. But that isn't what you learned about Christ. Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God-truly righteous and holy.

I encourage you to search out information about Halloween, its history and origin, although the history and origin hasn't changed--I was shocked to see how many articles from "believer-based" sites had changed their minds about Halloween and that permission was actually being given for Christians to participate in all the activities of Halloween and live it up! I was outdone by the compromise and justification, and in some cases denial, as I read page after page telling believers to just go ahead and do as the world does. I am not talking about the believers and churches that offer a Harvest time or an alternative to the traditional Halloween festivities. I am addressing those that would rather find a way to make a way and make room for Halloween in their Christian lives. To be honest, the excuses I have heard personally were that most parents really don't want the challenge or seeming aggravation it will cause to tell their children--NO. Not even for the redeemed blood of Christ. WOW!

Calling all Saints!--Let's wake up and smell the coffee! Does the Bible change? I don't care about the philosophy of all the human people that change their minds like we change our underwear, on a day-to-day basis. I am talking about God's Word being the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. How will they hear without a witness and what kind of witness can we be if we are doing what they do, dressing how they dress and marching to the same beat as those caught up in the world? Where is the salt? Where is the Light? We are citizens of Heaven not of earth!

Now I am not suggesting that the whole Christian community shut down on October 31st. What I am suggesting is that you pray about what God would have you do, that HE might get the glory. If your whole office is dressing up or you were voted best costume last year, maybe you would choose not to dress up this year and when they ask you why, use it as an opportunity to mention Christ. Or maybe you hosted the last Halloween party for children or adults and everyone wants to come again, so you tell them you will not be the host this year and again use this as opportunity to witness. Maybe you led the parade of costumed children through the halls of their school for their Halloween parade and this year you decline and when they ask why, you use it as an opportunity to mention God.

I personally go many steps further. My children do not color Halloween pictures, dress up like a witch or an angel or a cowboy or a princess, they do not sing Halloween songs in music class and do not read Halloween stories. Of course, they do not walk in the parade, even dressed in regular clothing. You might think this is a bit extreme, BUT I have shared with my children the history and origin of Halloween and they have been able to handle themselves well when other children ask them why they are not participating.

What is interesting to me is that I think it is harder for parents to say 'no' than for children to accept 'no.' You can use Halloween night to plan a family outing that they look forward to. One year during school time I found out what time the parade and festivities were going to be and I made dental and doctor appointments for my children so they could be excused from school. Parents, we cannot be lazy when it comes to teaching our children and living by principles and not preferences!

For anyone who has made it this far down into the article--bless you! Maybe God has made your heart tender to Him and maybe you just never thought about this at all or never researched it for yourself so you could make biblical decisions. You can ask God for forgiveness and you still have time to make new decisions before October 31st. I know it can be hard to make these life-changing decisions. Sometimes you just have to stop and ask yourself--Me or God? This will also tell you who is in control of your life and who you seek to please--OUCH! Ask yourself this question too--Is it worth the cost to find out when you stand before God on Judgment Day that you were wrong about your full or partial participation in Halloween, that you sold out and compromised? Is it too much to sacrifice for the One you say you love?

This challenge is not coming from someone that never participated in Halloween. My mom used to sew Halloween costumes for me when I was about 2 years old, and boy were they the cutest things. I was the hit of the neighborhood. I was a pumpkin with a green stem hat, you couldn't find a better outfit in the stores. I have also been on my share of hayrides and been to many haunted houses in my teenage life. (My parents had stopped Halloween for us when we were younger).

But, I have grown up and have my own children now. God has entrusted them to me and it is my responsibility to make God-honoring decisions for them. I have talked to them about Halloween and they have been making a stand in school ever since. One of my daughters was supposed to color witches and ghosts and she told her teacher, very politely, "I cannot do that." The teacher said ok. My other daughter was in music class and they were singing Halloween songs and she did not open her mouth to sing. I did not see this as defiance anymore than Daniel and his friends not bowing to the king's statue. She did not get into trouble. Of course I talked to their teachers first and then had the girls--STAND! They both asked what would happen if the teachers insisted that they participate. I told them that if the teachers decided to sit them down or take away recess or send them to the principal's office, they were to say--'I understand,' and then go. I told them they would not be in trouble with me. If you could see the look on their faces when they came home--excited about some stands they made for the Lord. Ya'll, although my girls are 7 and 9 years old, I am raising them to be like Daniel, Meshack, Shadarack and Abednigo.

Can God count on you as well? Is there room for Halloween in pursuing your "walk it out"?

When it is all said and done, your decision is between you and God. I just ask you to do your reasonable service and pray about your family's involvement in Halloween and see what God speaks to your heart. Not all things are listed in the Bible as DO & DON'T DO, but God never changes and neither does His character.

Michelle says, "Hmm"Honestly, I just don't see why there has to be an alternative--period. Why do we always have to match the world 1 for 1? Don't get me wrong I am not saying anything is wrong at all with the events themselves that we plan. All I am saying is that we still try to allow children to have the same experiences that the world has... we just make it more clean. How does this teach our children to stand up and stand out for God??? Don't bow down.

Having soft Halloween events prior to Halloween or after does not deter parents from taking their children out on Halloween as well. I guess it reminds me of a Christian movie I saw called, "Time Changers." In this movie the main point from the very beginning was--we offer an alternative but with no message of Christ, what good is that? People must know that there is an authority in our world that we follow.

What might be more productive and this is JUST A SUGGESTION--That we as congregations should hook up with surrounding churches and hold a prayer meeting (kind of) since we are to witness everyday anyway, pulling together to pray against any pagan stuff or forces of darkness-it might be "community" effective. Wouldn't God's church stand out that way and give Him glory? If churches didn't want to come together they could have prayer meeting at their own church and or a mini service to give members an opt out from the pressures of the trick or treat craze. NO candy allowed. (There are times when we all know the best we can do for some people is pray, especially if we know they are going to do what they want to do anyway.) I am just interested in how we as believers can make the biggest difference--and there are many ways, not just my one little suggestion. We have services for all our other major holidays but not Halloween, isn't that odd??


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