I'm sorry for all the recent "in your face posts." I imagine that if some of you weren't my real life friends, you probably would have quit reading by now :o) Hopefully this (and the following) won't push you over the edge. I have every intention of getting back to real life in the near future. You see, I have this rebellious streak (Sometime remind me to tell the story of how the Lord literally caused my nose ring to disappear. I really liked my nose ring, but I knew that for me it was a rebellion thing. Another story, another day.) Anyway, the Lord has been dealing with me about it, well, really since I was about fourteen, but lately, I've been having to purge some stuff, so I think my frustration is manifesting in a rebellious, in your face kind of attitude. Sometimes, anyway. So, I just want to apologize if my tone has been *off* some lately. I do believe what I write, and some I write for myself, some I feel that I should, and sometimes I'm just venting. I'm not apologizing for what I believe, but I am sorry if I've come across in a not-so-Christian way.
That said, I think I may have offended some in the last post. No comments? Maybe some will come through in the next few days. I really *do* want to hear what other people's thoughts and feelings are on the topic. I did admit up front that I struggle with judgment in this area. If that causes you to judge me, okay. Sorry. If we're all honest with ourselves, I imagine we could admit we all struggle with judgment in some area, that happens to be mine. But please know that if you're my real life friend and you don't homeschool, I love you dearly, and I'm not thinking of it every time I see you, not even most of the time I see you :o) (why do i feel that i'm just digging my grave deeper and deeper?)
So, you've probably figured out by now that Halloween is another one of those ways we're extreme. We don't celebrate it. We don't even participate in *churchy* stuff because we feel it's still participating but pretending we're not. Like mostly everything else in my life, there's a story behind it. (Glen teases me endlessly about how I have a story for everything.)
My family growing up celebrated Halloween in a big way. My Mom decorated inside and out. We had Halloween coming out our ears, our cabinets, our car. You get the picture. Sometime between Halloween of my second and third grade years, something happened (I've never actually asked her, I probably should. I'm curious now.) to cause her and my dad to believe we were participating in a holiday that had evil origins, and in light of God telling us in no uncertain terms to flee from evil, be different from the world, have nothing to do with the appearance of evil, etc. we stopped celebrating it cold turkey. I remember my Mom explaining to us they felt they had been sinning by participating, throwing away everything related (she wouldn't even give it away), and my third grade year I got picked up from school early on Halloween party day. And we went to a Christian school. Trust me, I was the weird one. We were the *only* ones who didn't do Halloween. In future years, we just got to skip the whole day.
Glen's family never celebrated Halloween growing up, so when we got married, it was kind of a non-issue. That is, until the people we *did* know that didn't celebrate started um, giving in, for lack of a better way to put it. Even our kids' cousins. This was the hardest thing for me, explaining to our children why their cousins, who once said they believed it was wrong were now saying it was okay. Even worse, they weren't even real clear about the whole thing. It was more of a "we just wanted to do it this year" sort of decision without even a clear "we've thought/prayed about it and feel it's okay." Now how do you explain that? We now know of one other family that doesn't celebrate. That's it. Even at NewSong, a Christian homeschool tutorial, last year during chapel, the leader said "stand up if you're going trick or treating tonight!" And guess who the three children were that were sitting down and getting stared at. Ugh. Is something wrong with us? Are we too *extreme*? All I know is we believe what we believe, and if anything, the whole Halloween issue with our children has taught them mainly how to stand firm by your convictions when everyone else around you believes something different.
I have this love/hate relationship with October. It is one of my favorite months, weather wise. We have an absolutely gorgeous view out of our living room windows, it takes us 15 minutes to get out of the back roads to the main road, so we are surrounded by beautiful scenery this time of year. On the other hand, Halloween decorations are everywhere. And not even the cutesy kind, everywhere from Target to the grocery to gas stations have skeletons in cages hanging by handcuffs, RIP graves, and just generally gory, death related decorations. What is up with that? My kids hate it! They turn their heads and are generally frightened and turn close into me while walking past. They still ask several times every year *why* we don't get to dress up and get candy, and can we please, but even through their desire to do the fun stuff, their little spirits are troubled by the obsession with death that surrounds the holiday.
I know part of what happened to my Mom to cause her to be convicted was her learning about how Halloween is the most sacred day of witches, and even worse, those involved in the occult in a deeper, darker level. I remember her telling us about how people that worshipped Satan would sacrifice animals, and even children on this day. She would spend every Halloween in tears, deeply grieved, and obviously troubled. She would get together with some friends to pray throughout the entire night. This kind of said a lot to me. I get the arguments about just doing the fun stuff, no scary costumes, we're not participating in the evil part, being the *weird Christians*, etc. but for us it comes back to the numerous scripture that tells us to have no participation with evil, even the appearance of evil. And you would be hard pressed to convince me that the holiday doesn't have evil origins, connotations, rituals, and just a generally evil and oppressive spirit hanging about it.
We're not complete meanies toward our kids though. We do generally try and do something fun. One year we bought a bunch of candy and had a scavenger hunt in the house. Last year we took them to eat Hibachi. We were the only ones there, and the chef put on a huge show for them. This year we're going to be camping, and while I know the campground is doing a *non scary* Halloween night, we're going to find some alternative.
To end, these are some of the Scriptures that have spoken to us about participating and what we can point our children to when asked, yet again, why we don't participate. As always, I would encourage you to read them and consider them with a spirit willing to hear should the Lord be wanting to say something. Would you embarrassed if Jesus showed up at your house on Halloween right as you were dressing up and getting ready to go out? No? Great. This very well could be one of those issues that is okay for some, if your faith genuinely allows you to participate, and sin for those that participate if the Lord is trying to talk to you about it and you just don't want to listen. Maybe so, maybe not. For us, we have a conviction that to participate would be sin, so we teach our kids it's one of those things where we're in the world, but not of it, and that being a Christian isn't always easy and our beliefs aren't always fun or popular.
1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 ~ "Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil." KJV reads, "avoid every appearance of evil."
James 1:27 ~ "keep oneself from being polluted by the world"
3 John 1:11 ~ "do not imitate what is evil"
Romans 12:9 ~ "Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good."
Deuteronomy 18:9-14 ~ "Do not learn to imitate detestable ways, including spiritists, sorcerers and witchcraft"
Ephesians 5:11-12 ~ "Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness"and "live as children of light"
1 Timothy 4:1 ~ Don't "follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons"
1 Corinthians 10:20-21 ~ "I do not want you to be participants with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord's table and the table of demons."
1 Corinthians 10:22 ~ but "everything is permissible" - but not everything is beneficial or constructive.
2 Corinthians 6:14-17 ~ "what fellowship can light have with darkness?"
James 4:7-8 ~ "submit yourselves to God / resist the devil / purify your hearts"
Ezekiel 44:23 ~ "…teach my people… to distinguish between the unclean and the clean."
Matthew 18:6 ~ "if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin…"
Hosea 4:6 ~ "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge."
John 3:19-20 ~ "people love darkness instead of light"
Romans 13:12 ~ "put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light."
Ephesians 6:11-18 ~ "take your stand against the devil's schemes."
1 John 5:19 ~ "We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one."