Well dear Freebies, we have just entered into the grandiose month that is NOVEMBER! How does it feel?
Just yesterday, the world celebrated something that is considered to be the #2 most celebrated American holiday: Halloween. For many Christians, their conviction concerning this holiday is that it is evil and should not be celebrated. Other Christian households go out trick-or-treating with no second thought. Who is right? Who is wrong?
I grew up in a house where the celebration of Halloween was STRICTLY forbidden! My brother and I were not allowed to go trick-or-treating or to wear costumes to school. There was no such thing as hanging out with your friends that night. Fact: My first time outside of the house on Halloween night, was my sophomore year in high school! There was absolutely no opening up of the door, even if the people knocking were recognizably our school friends. In fact, our lights were all turned off to ward people away. If some brave soul did still manage to step foot on our porch, they were only met with a handmade sign from my mother stating something like: "This household does not celebrate Halloween. Instead, we celebrate our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We invite you to do the same." My friends would come to school with so much candy the next day, wondering where mine was. I had to say that my parents didn't allow me to celebrate Halloween. When asked about the reason as to why not, I realized that I didn't have an answer.
Fast forward some years to yesterday. I asked Christian people to comment on my Facebook status with what their experience was like concerning Halloween:
Some people were like me, Christians who had never been able to participate in Halloween festivities of any kind, Christian alternative or not. Some from this group have since begun participating with their children now that they have families of their own.
Some people were able to participate when they were younger, and then one year their preachers taught against it, and their parents banned it from that moment forward.
Some people never even knew that there was such a debate about whether or not Christians should or shouldn't participate!
Only two commenters were given the opportunity to make their own decision about their participation. The rest were just told by someone that it was bad, but never really had anything to back it up. Of course, as a child, it is not necessary to have full understanding of the why's, so long as you understand that parent's rules are to be obeyed! However, the whole "because my mom said so" line doesn't hold up when you become an adult and begin having families of your own. It's important to know what YOU believe! Some who commented on my status believed that since the origins of the holiday were evil, the whole of the holiday is evil and as Christians, they did not want to take part. Others believed that since they knew the origins, they decided to still participate but to do it a different way, knowing that their own personal intentions were motivated by purity (and candy).
So who is right? When it comes to Halloween, it seems to be more of a question about conviction than it is about what course of action you choose to take on the day. My parents celebrated Halloween in their Christian households as children and were able to still grow up to be well established people in society. I was not able to celebrate, yet I believe that the same outcome will happen for me. In the end, parents operate based off of their current knowledge and their loving concern for their children. They did the best that they could by using their God inspired wisdom. Other households celebrate because their God inspired wisdom tells them to take that course of action: one woman intentionally celebrates to make an open show of the Devil; instead of being the Christian family that hides out in the house on that day as she did growing up, her family goes out collecting candy and spreading love in order to show that all the days of the year belong to Jesus, even October 31st.
As for me, as it stands right now, my conviction tells me that in my future when I have my own family, I will participate. I am a Christian, and a bold one at that. I would be remiss of an opportunity to spread the Gospel and the love of Christ to lock my doors on the ONE day of the year that complete strangers and neighbors alike knock on my door in cheer and expectation of something great. I will pass out candy, and I will also pass out love; maybe make a baggie filled with Starbursts and Scripture, or M&Ms and encouraging words with helpful study tips. Who knows, I've got time to figure it out. But what I won't do is lock my door because I believe differently; all the more reason to swing it open wider. October 31st, what a beautiful day that the LORD has made, a great day to rejoice, be glad, dress up and visit neighbors that you may not have spoken with since the year before, and to spend time getting some gentle exercise in with a stroll around the block with your family. My conviction tells me not to waste that. Your conviction may tell you otherwise. We are both right. We are both loved. We are both light in a broken and dark world, sent out to shine. So however God directs you to shine this month of November, stick to that conviction, even if it looks different than mine, and be determine to shine anyway. The world is waiting to see it, and kings will come to the brightness of your rising!