Thursday, 11 October 2012

Walk As Children Of Light

File:Bartolomeo Bimbi - The Pumpkin - WGA02200.jpg

Source for this image here.

"And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them". (Ephesians 5: 11).

As a family, we don't celebrate Halloween.  The Bible clearly tells us that we should abhor what is evil, and cling instead to what is good (Romans 12 : 9).  To us, that means avoiding the influences of the secular world around us, which encourage us to look away from God's light and instead into the darkness of the fallen world we inhabit today.  And so, we choose to stay away from Halloween, and instead celebrate the bounty of nature's harvest, by sharing good food and each other's company, away from the glorification of all that is evil, which is what Halloween is all about.

Fortunately, where we live in England, Halloween is still not yet a major holiday, and as our children were homeschooled, this also helped to insulate them from the negative influences of this occasion which seeks to glorify all that is ugly, evil and dark, and so really we have always taken very little notice of Halloween as a family.  At around that time, towards the end of October, we will have a special celebratory meal, to thank God for the gifts of nature that He has sent us during the year, but apart from that the day passes by without us really being aware of it.  However, we are conscious that it is not so for many other people, especially those who live across the sea in America, where Halloween is very big business nowadays.

As a holiday, Halloween has its origins in the Roman Catholic feast days of All Saint's Day and All Soul's Day, which occur on 1st and 2nd November.  These are Holy days of obligation in the Catholic calendar, on which the souls of the recently departed are remembered, as are the saints in Heaven.  However, these important feast days have nothing to do with the way in which wider society celebrates Halloween, but have just been adopted, along with many pre-Christian customs which seek to glamorise and celebrate the occult influences of the pagan religions which existed before Christianity, as a means of marking this occasion in a secular way.   That is why images such as ghosts, skeletons, bats, black cats and other symbols of witchcraft and sorcery, can be seen in shops at this time of year.  The concept of trick-or-treating has also been adopted from these ancient customs, when beggars and other destitute people were given gifts of food or money in return for praying for the recently departed on 1st November.  In fact the tradition originated in Great Britain - but it is much more popular in America than it is where we live!

If you have children you may feel obliged by the pressure of wider society to participate in Halloween.  It is difficult to avoid the influence of it all around us at this time of year - from the large piles of orange pumpkins that appear in the supermarkets, to the gaudily wrapped candies and treats in the sweet aisle.  It seems as if everywhere we go just now there are reminders of this commercial opportunity to exploit the purses of parents and inflict the ugly influences of a materialistic and self-serving world on all those around us.  But it needn't be a problem.  Instead of celebrating Halloween, there are many ways in which we can still enjoy having a special occasion at this time of year, and yet seek to celebrate and honour our Father God, and the beauty of the world He has created for us, so abundant at this time of harvest and bounty.

There's no need to feel that we can't enjoy this aspect of the season of autumn.  We can still buy pumpkins and gourds to decorate our homes - and we can still enjoy seasonal candies, too, if we want to!  But as Scripture exhorts us, let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light (Romans 13: 12) and focus instead on "whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report" (Philippians 4: 8).

For in so doing, we will be able to walk "as children of light" (Ephesians 5: 8) - as beacons for Christ, endeavouring to fulfill God's perfect will for us as we are commanded -

"And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God" (Romans 12: 2).

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