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Daughter of the King - born from above in 1989.

Deborah grew up in a military family and moved to Florida in the early 1970's.  She began her journey of creative writing soon after coming to know Jesus as her personal Savior. Her primary goal is to share her personal testimony with others while bringing hope and practical help through her writing.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Halloween - Can You Still Participate As A Christian?

Do you participate in Halloween activities in your neighborhood?  Is there an opportunity for you to start a dialog with your neighbors and their kids about what Halloween really represents?  Can you focus on death and use it as a witnessing tool?  

No doubt you can answer those questions in several ways. In case you don't know the history of this "holiday" - here's a brief overview of the origins of  Halloween

Halloween is a culturally popular holiday observed on October 31st. It was a Celtic pagan festival, and then became the Christian holiday - All Saints' Day, but today is a secular celebration.  Halloween activities include trick-or-treating, wearing costumes, carving Jack-o'-lanterns, apple bobbing, visiting haunted attractions, committing pranks, telling ghost stories or other frightening tales, and watching horror films.

Wikipedia, the on-line encyclopedia, has this to say about Halloween:  “The word Halloween is first attested in the 16th century and represents a Scottish variant of the fuller All-Hallows-Even ("evening"), that is, the night before All Hallows Day.  Although the phrase All Hallows is found in Old English (ealra hál
ȝena mæssedæȝ, the feast of all saints), All-Hallows-Even was not attested until 1556.

In traditional Celtic Halloween festivals, large turnips were hollowed out, carved with faces and placed in windows to ward off evil spirits.  The carving of pumpkins is associated with Halloween in North America where pumpkins are both readily available and much larger – making them easier to carve than turnips. Many families that celebrate Halloween carve a pumpkin into a frightening or comical face and place it on their doorstep after dark.  The practice of dressing up in costumes and begging door to door for treats on holidays, dates back to the Middle Ages.  Trick-or-treating resembles the late medieval practice of souling, originating in Ireland and Britain.  Poor folk would go door to door on Hallowmas (November 1st), receiving food in return for prayers for the dead on All Souls Day (November 2nd).

The early Christian church moved a festive celebration called All Saints' Day from May to November 1 and renamed it All Hallows' Eve, from which we get the word Halloween. This was an overt attempt on the part of believers to infiltrate pagan tradition with the truth of the gospel.  It was a bold evangelistic move designed to demonstrate that only the power of the resurrected Christ could protect men and women from the destructive ploys of Satan and his demons.

An article posted on ChristianityToday.com in 2009 cited a Barna Research study which had this to say:

“The majority of American Christians do not believe that Satan is a real being or that the Holy Spirit is a living entity, the latest Barna Research survey found. Nearly six out of ten Christians either strongly agreed or somewhat agreed with the statement that Satan “is not a living being but is a symbol of evil,” the survey found.  40 percent strongly agreed with the statement while 19 percent of American Christians somewhat agreed.  In contrast, about 35 percent of American Christians believe Satan is real.  20 percent strongly disagreed with the statement that Satan is merely symbolic and about one-tenth (9 percent) somewhat disagreed. The remaining 8  percent of American Christians responded they were unsure what to believe about the existence of Satan.”

What can we as believers do to counter-balance a society that deems Halloween “harmless?” For starters, we can have an open door for evangelism and education. The deception of a holiday such as Halloween, with its witches, vampires, demons, skeletons, and overall theme of evil, can become an opportunity to demonstrate the dynamic power of Christ to redeem us from death.  Halloween distorts the reality of true spiritual warfare, and glorifies the dark side of the spiritual world.  However, we can tell them about the One who triumphed over evil, and who came to give us a purpose, and a God-given destiny.

If you allow your children to trick-or-treat, focus on costumes that are based on Bible characters, animals, cartoon characters, historical people, and other “non-horror” themes.  We need to be careful not to add to the “feeding frenzy” of horror movie characters, demons, witches, ghosts, goblins, the devil, and other evil beings.   

We often decorate our house with scary “nature things” like spiders & webs, lizards, snakes, mice, birds, bats - and not “death and demon” related items most often found in Halloween-themed stores.  We carve real pumpkins or put out the plug-in type.  We hand out candy or tiny Christian toys and witnessing tracts that are family-friendly.  For the past couple of years (as an empty-nester) I take my two dogs out and walk the neighborhood, visiting with those we meet. You can make October 31st a night to talk about death, eternity, and how Jesus laid His life down for them.  
 
Dying and decay are eminent; however, evil and the grave has been defeated by Jesus through His death on the cross.  

We are more than conquerors over the powers of darkness, demonstrated by Jesus’ resurrection (Colossians 2:15), and the Holy Spirit’s power in us as believers (Ephesians 6:11-17).

Use Halloween as a teaching tool and an opportunity to witness.  Share the good news of Christ.   

                        R. I. P.    (Rest in His Presence)


“For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus… For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God.  And the dead in Christ will rise first.”  (I Thessalonians 4:14; 16)











Deborah is the author of a Christian non-fiction book titled “Mission Possible”.  It is written for women who love the Lord Jesus, but their spouse doesn’t share their passion.  It will encourage and challenge the reader to embrace God’s promises for their spouse and future together. 
http://www.Godmissionpossible.com


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6 comments:

  1. Deborah..

    Loved the RIP. Great article.

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  2. Thanks Lynn. I love dragging this one out of the closet on Halloween. I'm off to visit yours now! :)

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  3. GREAT post, Deborah. Those stats from Barna are surprising o me though, that the percentages are so high. I used to be one of those. What a great idea to take your dogs out and talk to people. I will be thinking of you post Monday evening. :-)

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  4. Thanks for stopping by Dineen :) Everyone in our neighborhood knows me - they say, "You're the one with the two dogs out walking every morning, right?" Yep - that's us... A couple of years ago I dressed both of them up for Halloween. Is that what it's coming to when you're an empty-nester? (lol)

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  5. Having experienced first hand how real a entity Satan is in this world, I don't participate in Halloween like I used to. I still hand out candy, but do not participate in the scary, demonic based movies or themes.

    Great post. I particularly liked revisiting the history behind the holiday. I remembered a great deal, but had forgotten some.

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  6. Thank you Cecilia for your sweet comments. I like to refresh my memory also concerning Halloween and its roots.

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