The Curries

The Curries
Keith and Patricia

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)