I love this time of year. The weather is cooler, kids are back to school, and we turn our thoughts to indoor pursuits. I mourn the loss of long summer days, so there are a lot of candles at our house. Their fragrance mingles with the aroma of muffins, cookies, and other treats, especially as we enter the holiday season.
You might wonder why we have so many holidays during the winter months. In ancient times, the druids believed the sun and resulting harvest would not return unless they appeased their god with bonfires (originally called bone fires from their animal and human offerings) and rituals. Although rooted in superstition, these parties that included drinking, dancing, orgies, and revelry were hard for Christians to resist.
So early Church leaders strategically placed Christian Holy Days on top of pagan celebration days to encourage people to celebrate God’s freedom and forgiveness instead of the powers of darkness. Unfortunately, holy partying has been on the decline.
Contrary to what the world would have us think, God loves parties. In fact, He invented the whole idea. The Old Testament is full of information on how to have the best party. God said: take a break from work, get together with friends, play music, dance, eat, and give.
God created us with a need to rejoice so He introduced nine feasts for the Jews to celebrate. Most of our holidays In America, are faith based too, or celebrate things God values, such as honoring our parents and freedom. We have: Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, Valentine’s, Memorial Day, Labor Day, Mother and Father’s Day, and Fourth of July.
But what does God think about Christians celebrating Halloween? Raised in a Christian home, I not only celebrated Halloween, but went to church sponsored parties and haunted houses. I created my own costumes from what I could scrounge from closets or make myself. In high school, I wore heavy makeup and a dramatic cape to school dressed as Dracula. I enjoyed the attention as I swooshed down the hall.
As soon as our daughter was old enough, I dressed her up as Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, complete with glittery red shoes. The next year, I designed a cardboard cutout with the words of “I’m a little teapot” printed on the front. The cardboard “lid” was secured to a beanie. She practiced the song with gusto, “pouring” from her spout at the end.
However, in 1992 I began to learn more about Halloween - what masquerades behind the costumes and candy. God began to steer me toward a Christian holiday rich with meaning and purpose that somehow got lost in the darkness. Since then, I've worked to educate other Christians about the option we have available, so they too can make an informed decision about what and how to celebrate in the month of October. I hope you’ll join me for part two and learn How Halloween Began.
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