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Monday, September 27, 2010

Halloween Soapbox

As I was cleaning the seeds and pulp from my freshly cooked pumpkin this evening, I was set to thinking about halloween. Yep, it's that time again. We do not celebrate this particular day for various reasons, though I will only give my own thoughts on the subject. I have been wondering lately why Christians, in general, celebrate halloween. I can see how Roman Catholics might celebrate the day, as it was reallocated from the original All Saints' day earlier in the year in order to absorb yet another pagan celebration by Pope Gregory centuries ago, but isn't it still supposed to be All Saints' day and ought not they be in church, or feasting in another way? (Many people may spend their time in this manner, I have nothing to reference to this fact). I will also point out that the current pope has condemned halloween just last year, so wouldn't that be sinful to participate, if the pope condemns something? (I am an Orthodox Christian, so I cannot surely speak of what it is to be under the pope, so if there is anyone with more experience, please pipe up!) In any case, if a person is not Catholic celebrating a church feast day, what reason do they have? Halloween isn't Biblical, so saying it is ok to participate seems to then make it ok to have practices that are not Sola Scriptura, and that is a whole other blog. To say that it is harmless brings me to my next points of interest, is it truly harmless, as a Christian, to participate, in any way, in halloween? Let us examine some of the aspects of the day in question, shall we?

Firstly, we dress up and must all have just the right costume, hair and make-up. Is it not vanity to be so dedicated to finding perfection in what is worn? Besides that, we can certainly dress up in any manner, on any other day, but why must we, as Christians, do it on this day? We don't want our kids to miss out on fun? Isn't that a bit vainglorious of us as parents, as we introduce this practice to our innocent young darlings? It isn't about them at all, it very rarely is, because if it were, there would be a slew of things done differently in this world (and I won't get going on that right now).

How about all that candy!??! Aside from it just not being any good to eat that much sweets, especially some of those commercial kinds that most people give out, but isn't that greed? The most...the best...the biggest bagful...should we really encourage this pursuit? It is greed, and then what ensues from the greed is a wish to glut oneself on all the bounty of candies. Shall I continue? Yes, let's!

We will move onto the carving of pumpkins. It saddens me because of all the waste of food and I am guilty of doing this in years past. Just imagine that each and every jack o' lantern you pass by (besides the plastic ones, of course) are food. We just cooked up a medium sized one and it will make us some soup, get put into muffins and bread and possibly get sauteed into a meal. That is a lot of food rotting away for the sake of entertainment. Have we really become so desensitized that we cannot see pumpkins for what they are? As a Christian, are we not called to feed the hungry? What excuse do we have?

So, what have we got so far? Vanity, which stems from pride,with a side of greed, gluttony and utter wastefulness of food and its purpose. Still think it is harmless? We haven't even touched on the risque costumes mixed with alcohol, and perhaps other substances, when kids leave the home, or go to parties as teens. Throw that in with raging hormones and I don't think I need to expound on that image. If we grow our children to believe that anything is ok when they are small, they haven't got any measure for acting differently when they are grown: "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." ~Proverbs 22:6 This applies to all things that we teach our children, so we need to be more vigilant in all things, not just this. It does not mean that our children do not question things and come to their own conclusions, but whatever our foundation laid, this is where their character lies.

I know that this will be a controversial topic for many people. If you are not Christian, enjoy your day, but if you are Christian, why not give a little bit of thought to some of the things behind each piece of the activities, of which I am sure there are more that I have not talked about. It is true that this is not a matter that is only applicable here, this is just a particularly outstanding example. I do not mean to offend anyone, only provoke a bit of thought and reflection as we approach the impending days ahead in anticipation of halloween.

I will go on this thought, "No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon." ~Matt. 6:24, KJV. Let us imagine that in place of 'mammon' we will insert 'anything earthly', for, as Christians, we are not called to this earthly life, as we see in 1 John 15-17, " Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever." It's a tall order, but it is what we are striving to accomplish.

4 comments:

Mary said...

Excellent, Xenia!

Carolyn said...

"I can see how Roman Catholics might celebrate the day, as it was reallocated from the original All Saints' day earlier in the year in order to absorb yet another pagan celebration by Pope Gregory centuries ago, but isn't it still supposed to be All Saints' day and ought not they be in church, or feasting in another way?"

Not to be disrespectful of your blog post, but there are fallacies in this statement that need to be addressed. All Saint's Day was moved from the original date of May 13th when Pope Gregory made that date the Feast of Our Lady of the Martyrs. He then declared All Saints Day to be on November 1st instead of May 13th, as that day was now dedicated to Our Lady. Catholics celebrate All Saints Day on November 1st, not October 31st, so Catholics ARE in church on All Saints Day, not out trick or treating. Once the day had been changed by Pope Gregory to Nov. 1st (and he definitely WAS NOT absorbing a pagan holiday), Pagans joked about calling their feast of Samhain, "All Hallow's Eve" because it fell before the Catholic Feast of All Saints Day.

"I will also point out that the current pope has condemned halloween just last year, so wouldn't that be sinful to participate, if the pope condemns something?

Here is another fallacy - Pope Benedict did not condemn Halloween. A priest who works at the Vatican and writes for the Vatican newspaper did say that parents should caution their children about the dangerous messages in popular celebrations of Halloween, and also encouraged parents to help their children to avoid the harmful influences of the occult and the frightening aspects of some Halloween observances. Very appropriate advice. So, in conclusion, it is not a sin to dress up your child in a costume and have him/her go out and collect some candy that is freely given out one night a year. Of course, we can make any activity sinful, Halloween included, but it does not have to be.

I am amazed sometimes about all of the things that people are taught about the Catholic Church by other religions, as you obviously have been, Aurelia, that are completely untrue and are hateful as well. Your statement "in order to absorb yet another pagan celebration" speaks volumes about your misinformation about the Roman Catholic Church. If you ever would like to hear the truth of the Roman Catholic Church, I would be happy to talk to you about it.

Respectfully,
Carolyn Ledbetter

::Sylvia:: said...

I agree. We don't celebrate Halloween either and I'm always surprised by some of the reasons people say it's a "Christian" holiday.

As far as being wrong about Roman Catholicism, I think there are differing opinions even among themselves. The year before last I was having coffee with two Catholic ladies from school and the conversation began with how wrong I was for not celebrating and ended with the two of them arguing over "why" it was wrong. They both had two very different opinions on the matter.

What matters is really not all the tiny reasons. It's really quite simple. "And what communion does light have with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial?" 2 Corinthians 6:14-15

I don't think anyone dare say Halloween is not a day of darkness.

Marfa said...

We do not celebrate Halloween...it's the time of year I go out to the grocery store alone, making sure that my children don't have to see the ghastly grim reaper who speaks as you walk down the aisle to purchase fruit.

I like how Carolyn uses the word "fallacy" so much. I went to Catholic school and everyone of my classmates participated in trick-or-treating and did NOT go to church the following day Nov 1. Perhaps she is more traditional and goes to a church that is not as modern.

I am with you, Xenia...on the candy issue, too. High fructose corn syrup...cavities and sickness. Ew. Greed and gluttony. Even at birthday parties, I wish parents would simply have a cake, no little goodie bags, which I end up throwing out...

I bought a BIG pumpkin today, which I intend to bake and make into pie and bread! Yum.