Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Merry ... Christmas??? On October 31st?

Well, imagine my pleasant surprise this morning when I turned on our local Christian radio station and heard them playing Christmas music on Halloween! They chose to celebrate Christ's life, rather than focus on Halloween. Well done!

Our family does not celebrate Halloween. We don't dress in costume. We don't trick or treat. We don't watch scary movies or tell ghost stories. We try to teach our child about God's love and his saving grace. We have prayed over him every night of his little life. We have asked God to build a hedge of protection around him. Why, then, would we introduce the celebration of evil into his young life?

Admittedly, Christian parents around the world struggle with Halloween. In fact, opinions about Halloween vary greatly within my own church and family, let alone within the global Christian community.

Some parents believe that it's just another night where kids can have fun and dress up in costume and get free candy. Some parents will firmly deny that they are celebrating evil things, just having innocent fun. Still, other parents feel that they are opening their children's heart and mind to spiritual attack by participating in something that celebrates ghosts, witches, demons, sorcery, evil, and darkness.

Let's analyze this as Christian parents: Halloween celebrations do not have the appearance of a Christian celebration. It does not exhort things of faith, of love, or even of kindness. Families around the world decorate their homes with items that our faith warns us not to embrace: witches; goblins; ghosts; ugly, creepy things that evoke images of fear; caskets, gravestones and things that embrace death.

I think it's a fair statement to say that our children do not look at spiritual issues the way we do as adults. Their ability to reason, justify, separate, and compartmentalize is very different than ours, and it makes them vulnerable to accepting dark things like witchcraft, spells and potions, and things of the occult as okay.

Even things that parents look at as "innocent fun" like the Harry Potter book series can actually open your child's heart to accepting those things as truth, to believing that it's okay to cast spells and potions, and to have a desire to learn more about it. In my heart and mind, I firmly believe that it's not just innocent literature. It's a series of "handbooks" that open our children's minds to things we struggle to keep them away from. Yes, it may have fun adventure. Yes, it may be humorous and entertaining. Yes, you may sit on the edge of your seat reading them. Yes, it may teach between good and evil (or bad)... but is it okay to cast spells on people? Is it okay to make evil potions? Is it okay to introduce your child to witchcraft, sorcery, curses, and the use of occult methods to exercise their power? How do you separate what is okay and acceptable in the Christian faith from what we don't find okay and acceptable when you give your child a book to read that is obviously condoned by the parent?

Our children are bombarded enough at school and in their every day life with challenges that we never had. They are facing things that open them to evil and darkness on a daily basis... especially our teens. Many of them are fixated with death, suicide, occult practices, witchcraft, friends that are wiccans or shamans. Movies they watch, horror books they read, even the music they listen to can feed darkness and fear right into their hearts and minds.

As a parent, it is downright frightening what we can innocently open our child’s heart to. I feel the need to protect my son, and all of this just brings home the importance to surround my child, my family, with things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy (Phil 4:8).

I know many of you reading today will be shaking your head in agreement with my feelings towards Halloween... maybe you'll even feel thankful that there is a forum where you can express your feelings about it with someone that is "on your side," so to say.

But, there will also be many of you who disagree, and would say that it's just an innocent children's holiday and that I risk loosing readers for my strong stand against Halloween and my comparison of it to evil. Well, all I can say is, my child is my responsibility, and I need to raise him the best way I know how, but at the same time, I need to glorify God in all I do... including my blog. I hope that you see my sincere efforts in doing just that, and that I am not trying to criticize, tear down, or belittle anyone's personal beliefs. I hope you see that, and know that I'm not going to stop loving you if you don't see eye to eye with me!

I pray God's blessings on each of you today, and I will be praying extra hard that all of our children's minds and hearts are bathed in God's protection and light.

In the mean time ... Merry Christmas, y'all!

"Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world." 2 Peter 2:12 (NLT)

16 comments:

LvlyRita said...

I read that 93 percent of Americans celebrate on October 31st, spending nearly as much as they do on Christmas. Hmmm, interesting. Well, I'm with ya. Merry Christmas!!

My dad one year had the youth dress up in Christmas costumes and carol on this day. It was fun and actually snowed a little bit, strange, but encouraging.

My mom always started listening to Christmas music during October, maybe I'll keep that tradition.

Susanne said...

Gibee, I totally stand with your stand on Halloween. I've thought about writing about it but couldn't put into the right words. When it comes down to the nitty, gritty of it all, bottom line, no matter how we put a spin on it, even if we say we keep it light and fun, it is a holiday steeped in withcraft and occult. Every tradition from trick or treating to pumpkin carving that has to do with halloween has it's meaning and beginning in the Druid high priests and the occult. Why do we teach our innocent children to celebrate such things concerning darkness and death when Christianity is all about life, light and truth?

Anyway, I won't get on my own soapbox. You've spoken it in gracious words.

Rocks In My Dryer said...

GiBee, I understand where you're coming from. I lovingly disagree with you, though. We're very careful to celebrate Halloween in a way that IS reflective of our faith. Our kids aren't allowed to dress as anything scary, and we don't try to frighten our trick-or-treaters, or do anything spooky. We trick-or-treat as a family. We talk openly with our kids about Halloween's pagan roots, and then we talk about how thankful we are that Christ has victory over evil, and that we can choose to celebrate the portions of this holiday that are about fun, family and creativity.

The reality is that we live in a fallen world. Teaching my children to navigate that is my most important job. Halloween is a reality in our culture, whether we like it or not. I COULD teach my kids that it's "wrong", that we should have nothing to do with it, or I could teach them how to use this as a time of outreach and fun with the people they love. What believer shouldn't be THRILLED at the prospect of everybody in the neighborhood knocking on their door, all on the same night? We make it a point to give out the best candy in the neighborhood, for that very reason!

Remember, Paul was very careful in his ministry to use the tools of the culture he lived in. In Acts 17, Paul uses very pagan poetry to talk with the philosophers and the implication is that he had not only READ that poetry, he had memorized it.

Basically (and I'm sorry--I know I'm totally hijacking your comments section, I just don't know how to say this all any shorter!) I'm choosing as a believer to teach my kids how to navigate tricky issues in a way that honors Christ, INSTEAD of holing up and pretending they don't exist.

Robin said...

You are a brave one to bring up such a controversial topic! - even in the Christian world.

I would just like to say that I respect the right for all to have their own opinion on this matter. And I think respectful dialog is the way to go. I think you have many valid points. I think that Rocks in My Dryer does too. And although, I probably lean more towards her point of view, I really appreciate what you have to say about it. Thanks for saying it in a loving, Christlike manner. And Merry Christmas right back at you!

Molly Coddled said...

Gibee dear, I stand with you on this 100%. It's a hard stand sometimes but nonetheless an important one.

So much of what our culture chooses to celebrate are things no Christian should be involved in. I firmly believe that there is no way to make an anti-christian celebration glorify God.

You'd be amazed at how many doors have been opened for us to speak God's truth by taking a stand and with a smile on our face, politely saying, "We don't celebrate Halloween." I have had non-believers flat out tell me that they have always been bothered by Halloween and they would love to see it disappear. I have had people ask why and listen with open hearts to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I have one particular story but it's too long to write here. To make a long story short, a second grade teacher got saved because my son stood up in her class and said he would not be attending their Halloween party.

I'll just end here by encouraging you to be strong in your convictions. God is glorified by that strength. When we can stand apart from the world, non-judgmentally, lovingly, patiently but decidedly different, it's then that we make an impact for Jesus Christ.

The world is crying out for a different way and we can show them that Jesus is the way!

Sandy said...

Hi GiBee. Without writing a book myself, I'd have to agree with Shannon (Rocks in Dryer).
When our kids were little, we would read them Liz Curtis Higgs book (I wish I remembered the name) and carve pumpkins with a Christian theme behind it. It was a great way of breaking in "Halloween."

It's really what you make it to be in your family.

Tonight our sons are working the Harvest Festival at church. Although they've done a lot of trick-or-treating in the past, they are older now to move on and do what their heart tells them.

Halloween is not going to make Christian kids evil.

Thank you for your post and for putting your beliefs out there!

melissa said...

amen!

Grace @ Rose Cottage Lane said...

I've never understood Christian families who have no issue with Halloween and even celebrate it. Will it turn their kids evil? Not likely, but why celebrate something that goes against everything we supposedly stand for as Believers and Followers of Christ?

Not sure I could handle Christmas music this early, but it's a very nice gesture anyway.

ValleyGirl said...

This is such a tough call for me, but I read a couple of very good posts on the subject here. Melanie provides a link in this post to a previous Halloween post she made. They're both very good reads.

Anonymous said...

You got that right on Gibee!!! We don't even realize that when we innocently particpate in Halloween the highest holy day for the devil we are inviting death spirits etc...
We wrestle not against flesh and blood but against prinicpalities power and rulers...
That is when the witches and warlocks pray againts God's people. I agree with what you said Gibee go you for being so bold!

Anonymous said...

Halloween does not make you evil but the spirits of death and other evil spirits can attach themselves to you. It is hard enough why invite evil into our lives. We live in this world but not suppose to be of this world. Good that you spoke the truth and if folks don't want to hear or receive that is ok.

Beth/Mom2TwoVikings said...

Girl - I can't add anything intelligent that anyone else hasn't already said but know that I stand in this with you too. The Vikings are Halloween-free as well.

Shalee said...

I was going to add my two cents, but I see that Shannon has done it already with much better grace and style than I ever could have done.

And to be honest, when I read your title, I thought "I was going to post on the fact that I think it is ridiculous to have Christmas music playing so early.

So I guess I'm O for 2 on this one so far.

Anonymous said...

I respectively disagree with you.

In my opinion, Harry Potter does not damage a child, nor does one's child dressing up as Dora the Explorer.

Many of the people I grew up with were raised in churches that believed in a God of wrath who was quick to punish. "THE WAGES OF SIN IS DEATH!!" they were told. Lot's of judgement spewed from those pulpits. Oh the ills of this or that lifestyle!!! Plus they are going to heaven and no one else is, so there!!! nah nah nah

I grew up in a church that believed in God's Grace. The difference is amazing.

There was far more damage done to those poor people I grew up with by the fire a brimstone messages they received than by Halloween.

If everything has gone swimmingly in their lives they have become marvelous Pharisees. "God just blessed me with a Mercedes!"

If something did not go well or tragedy struck, they felt they have been punished. Many are alcoholics, even though they grew up in non- drinking households. They figure that they must have done something wrong, plus they are already being punished, so why bother??

Halloween did not hurt them, the modern day Pharisees did.

Just my 2 cents..

purplepassion said...

I don't comment a lot but I think I need to on this one. I will keep it short.
It's too early for Christmas music for me but I understand the concept and the sentiment and kudos to the station.
Disclaimer: I am Roman Catholic and have raised my children as such and have many personal issues with "the church" but have faith in God.
Now about Halloween and the kids. Let's remember that we have to raise our kids in the world to deal with the world at large. By sheltering (and I conseider my kids sheltered) them from EVERYTHING I feel that they won;t be able to function well in society and this world. I ask, Did you Trick or Treat as a child? if so, didn't you turn out ok? Good post. Good food for thought. Respectfully done.

Susan said...

I agree that Christians do not need to participate in anything to do with Halloween, Harry Potter, etc.

It's great that you're watching out for anything that might threaten your child's spiritual life, just as you protect his physical life.