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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Halloween

"What are your children going to dress up as for Halloween?"  - Someone inevitably asks almost every day.
"Oh, we don't celebrate Halloween," I respond.
Awkward silence.
Why this has to be such an uncomfortable topic for people, I don't know. I am not a weirdo just because I don't celebrate Halloween. I just CHOOSE not to celebrate it now.
My husband and I use to have huge Halloween costume parties. Every year, we would make a big deal about it. We would give prizes for the best costumes. I would sew and sew and sew to make sure we had homemade costumes. I would cook, and buy alcohol and oh, was it a great chance to have a party! So what changed my mind? My faith.
I wasn't trying to impress fellow believers and I wasn't trying to feel better than those people who still celebrate Halloween. As I started to really learn the Word and work towards being closer to the Lord, I discovered that I wanted to please Him.  The more I worked on my spiritual journey, the more I wanted to do what was good in His eyes.
As I started to celebrate the biblical feast days of the Lord, I began to reevaluate the holidays I was already celebrating as a Christian. When I looked at Halloween, it just didn't line up with my faith. I say I believe in God and His son, but then I celebrate a day that is rooted in pagan worship? I started to feel uneasy and convicted.
What is pagan? The American Heritage Dictionary defines a pagan as 1. A person who is not a Christian, Muslim, or Jew; heathen 2. one who has no religion 3. Formerly, any non-Christian.  
Halloween has it's roots as a pagan holiday. It originates from a festival celebrated by the Celtics, who would observe the end of summer with sacrifices to Samhain (pronounced pronounced sow-in), "the lord of death and evil spirits". There are many websites, books and information out there to provide the background about Halloween and how it began. Below, I have sited a few websites if you want to read a more concise explanation.
So, since Halloween is a pagan holiday and is something that is rooted in and customary for non-Christians, then what was I doing celebrating it? How did that effect my witness to others as a believer? Obviously I needed to rethink my Halloween involvement. So I went to the Word of God to find what it says about celebrating pagan holidays.
"When you enter the land which the LORD your God gives you, you shall not learn to imitate the detestable things of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, one who uses divination, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who casts a spell, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For whoever does these things is detestable to the LORD; and because of these detestable things the LORD your God will drive them out before you." Deuteronomy 18:9-12
 Well, Halloween obviously focuses on witches, divination, magic, and the dead. You see that in the decorations alone. Is it okay to pretend that these things are okay even for one day, one hour, one minute?
"When the LORD your God cuts off before you the nations which you are going in to dispossess, and you dispossess them and dwell in their land, beware that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, 'How do these nations serve their gods, that I also may do likewise?' You shall not behave thus toward the LORD your God, for every abominable act which the LORD hates they have done for their gods; for they even burn their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods." Deuteronomy 12:29-31
Carving pumpkins and wearing costumes on this night was part of a ritual for a Celtic god. It was adopted into an American pastime, yes, but it is rooted in pagan worship. If the latest American pastime was drinking blood from goats, would we succumb to that?
"What do I mean then? That a thing sacrificed to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? {No,} but {I say} that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God; and I do not want you to become sharers in demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. Or do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? We are not stronger than He, are we?" 1 Corinthians 10:19-22
To me, this verse says: You cannot be a follower of the Lord, a believer, and still celebrate a pagan holiday. No, you will not find the words "Thou shall not celebrate Halloween" in the bible. But you will also not find the words "Thou shall not commit tax evasion" or "Thou shall not smoke crack" or "Thou shall not put laxative in your brother's milk", but I think we can all agree that these things are against the basic commandments set out in scripture.
"...What commandment is the foremost of all?" Jesus answered, "The foremost is, 'HEAR, O ISRAEL! THE LORD OUR GOD IS ONE LORD; AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.' "The second is this, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.' There is no other commandment greater than these." Mark 12:28-31
There is only one God and His Feasts are what we should follow, not that of another god. Are you showing your love for God and your neighbor as you celebrate Halloween? If you have been wondering how this "holiday" has or will effect your spiritual walk, please do the research into the background and reconsider opening this door to your family and teaching your children about a holiday that is not centered around the Lord, but actually ignores His sovereignty.
I am very grateful to the Lord that we stopped celebrating Halloween 10 years ago. My children have never celebrated it and it is not something we will teach them. I really believe that it will be easier to explain to them why we don't celebrate it, rather than why we do if we still had it as part of our family traditions. That is really what it comes down to: Family. Play dress up with your children to build their imagination, give them a lolly pop or their favorite candy every now and then, make apples with caramel on them for dessert; but it doesn't have to be connected to a pagan holiday. As I discovered, there are always better, even biblical reasons, to have a party!

For concise explanations about Halloween, it's practices, traditions and the rituals that started it all, please go to the following links. I found them to be very helpful in knowing the truth.

http://logosresourcepages.org/Holidays/halloween.htm

http://www.history.com/topics/halloween
http://www.jeremiahproject.com/culture/halloween.html

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