The Curries

The Curries
Keith and Patricia

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Holidays or “Hollow days”? Part 2

Jim Rohn talked about getting a good meal out of the trash. He said, “If you work hard, if you search, if you are determined, you could probably come up with some good things out of the trash heap. But is that how you really want to get your dinner? Even once?”

Of course not.

When it comes to training our kids, Halloween can be that kind of experience. As adults we can sort through all the costumes, decorations, and scary movies without much trouble. It is so easy in fact that we can forget to protect the little ones who have no filters for all that stuff.

Try Philippians 4:8 as a standard. Use each key word as a heading and list the things from Halloween that fit that heading.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable
if anything is excellent or praiseworthy
think about such things.

Consider the age of your children as a key factor. Little children until age seven have difficulty discerning real from make-believe. At the same time they are in their most formative stage when it comes to shaping their securities and their fears. I have seen the little ones wrapped around their parents’ legs in fear all because their parents want them to “have some Halloween fun.”

One event can stay in the memory forever, especially when it is traumatic or fear-inducing. Can you remember a time when you were little and you were scared out of your wits by some fun-loving older sibling? Whether it was ghost stories or jumping out from behind a bush, do you remember not being able to sleep because of your fear?

Do you think that a big part of our lives is affected by what we do not see? Are there spiritual forces at work in our world today? The Bible mentions them and warns us. Children are often more sensitive to spiritual things than we are. Jesus spent quite a bit of time setting people free from evil spirits. Do we unnecessarily expose our children to spiritual forces in the name of fun? What kind of doors are we opening during the Halloween season? 

Are Christians different than those around them? Should we be? Is Halloween a good time to demonstrate that difference? I think it is. This Halloween, take the time to explain to your children that we are people of light and not darkness. Explain that following Jesus does require that we live different kinds of lives. Dare to be different in this culture.

It will do something in you and in your children.

(Note: Thank you to those of you who commented last week. If anyone has not read the comments from last week, I encourage you to read them. They are noteworthy.)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Holidays or “hollow-days”

    Like it or not, it seems to me that the holiday season now includes Halloween.

    My Halloween journey has gone through quite an evolution through the years. When I was a kid, my parents dressed us up in homemade outfits and sent us into the neighborhood with brown paper grocery bags to say “Trick or treat” and come home with a haul of candy.

    When I entered college, I attended a Christian college and each class was assigned a party to host during the year. I think it was my sophomore year that our lot fell on the Halloween Party. We worked and planned and worked until we were almost ready. As I walked through the “haunted house” that we created, something in me became grieved. My friends and coworkers were Christian, and they seemed fine with the blood and gore and death and fear themes. Nevertheless, I was not at peace; no matter how I tried to ignore my inner warnings. Finally, I went to the class president and asked to be excused from participation. He agreed and I walked away, feeling a little guilty yet a lot relieved. That was the first conflict between my “life in the Spirit” and the dark influences that I saw shaping Halloween.

    The next revelation came for me when I was a young school teacher. Teaching in a public middle school setting during the Halloween season, I was amazed at the restlessness and disruptions during the week leading up to Halloween. A fight or two a day was the norm. When Halloween was over, things settled back down. To me that was noteworthy.
    As young parents, we lived in a neighborhood where houses were on three acre plots. “Trick or treating” was too inconvenient. Our young kids were not seriously caught up in the Halloween hoopla. They accepted our explanations fairly easily.

    On the other hand, I was the principal of a fledgling Christian school and we had to decide what to do about Halloween. We decided not to celebrate it, but we celebrated fall and harvest. We also published information for our school parents of Halloween’s beginnings and history. As time went on our church and school scheduled an alternative activity to give the children a sense of both community and of the celebration of harvest.

    In 2004 we moved into a neighborhood where Halloween was not so easy to avoid. Danny was eleven and the neighborhood kids left some candy on our steps with a “Boo” poster. An attached note explained that he was to pass it on to another child in the neighborhood. We ignored it. It happened again. We tried to ignore it, and ended up explaining to one of our neighbors that “we don’t do Halloween.” On Halloween night, we made sure that we weren’t home. We felt like we were running away.

    In the meantime, Halloween seems to have grown in popularity and seems to be “in our faces” everywhere we go. Our search for answers takes us to God’s word and to the foundational holidays, or feast days, introduced by Moses to the people of God.
Deut. 16: 1-3
Celebrate the Passover of the LORD your God,
Sacrifice as the Passover to the LORD your God an animal from your flock or herd . . .
so that all the days of your life you may remember the time of your departure from Egypt.

    In summary, this passage says three key things, “Celebrate, Honor the Lord, and Remember your history.”

    Can we do this with Halloween? Should we? Do we ignore it, knowing that our kids certainly can’t? Do we participate, exposing our young kids to some of the darker aspects of the celebration? Do we provide an alternative? Do we try to bring it “captive to the obedience of Christ”?
(to be continued)