Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Halloween - The Heart of a Child

Today I downloaded all the syncroblogs of others who have weighed in on the subject of Halloween.

To Halloween or to not Halloween – that is the question. I seem to have a lot of pagan-christian friends here in the blogworld because for the most part, they have all weighed in on the side of “it never hurt me and we are being hypocritical if we celebrate Christmas and Easter and not Halloween” side of things. (Actually there were very good posts about this and I don’t mean to trivialize them)

You see I used to believe that we Charismatics had actually dealt with the demonic world and so we knew better than to mess with Satan’s camp. Actually we held the keys to the real secret behind the truth of participating in Halloween. (Satan is stronger than Jesus). Therefore in allowing your children to participate in dressing up in a costume and going from door to door for candy from their neighbors the enemy would certainly get a stronghold in their little lives and they will end up doing drugs, sleeping with their boyfriend, dressing goth and rejecting the God of their parents.

But wait. I have one of those. AND SHE NEVER PARTICIPATED IN HALLOWEEN!! We actually told her that good Christian kids did not participate in an ungodly holiday. That it was wrong to put on a witches outfit and go out and get candy. That it would be better going door to door and praying for people on that night or going to a church sponsored "harvest party". We did it ALL right. We were the good Christians on the block.

So what went wrong? And here is the real question that we with children are asking ourselves. Can all the outward things that we do really shape the heart of our children? Can we pull so far away from the world that our children’s lives will not be touched by sin? Who really is stronger – Jesus or Satan?

Let me explain. I have 7 kids. 4 girls and 3 boys. They all range in ages from 25-6. With each one of them we have known both the strengths of their characters and the weaknesses by the time they turned 4 years old. You could tell which ones had a problem with lying, self confidence, or anger. You could pick out the ones who would have a problem with eating too many sweets, which one would want to hide his sin and which one would not care if you found out. You could tell who would be a giver and who would be more selfish. You could see who was more decisive, who was the musical one, who would be your greatest helper, who naturally saw what needed to be done and so on. They were all raised in the same home with the same parents and except for themselves with the same siblings. Some we home schooled, some we sent to public school.

But the thing that is so amazing to me is that you could tell what you were going to deal with in each of them as they grew up when they were 4. It had virtually nothing to do with what we did or didn’t do. It was in them. Their strengths and weakness were already bound up in their hearts. It made no difference whether we allowed them to dress up for Halloween or not. And to think that something so much outside of them will actually influence them to behavior that is not already inherent in their little beings is just somehow crazy to me now.

So if you ask me, (and you really haven’t), I say go ahead and celebrate Halloween or not. But don’t think that the celebration of it or the avoidance of it will change one thing about who your children are, because only a relationship with one Man will ever change a child’s heart from what it is, to what it can become.

If you think that anything outside of Grace will change them, then trust me, you are in for a horrible, guilt inducing trip of parenthood. And you will end up blaming yourself for celebrating (or not celebrating) Halloween some day and that is just crazy.

PS: By the way, in case you are wondering……Jesus is stronger!

5 comments:

Alan Knox said...

Barb,

Good, balanced post! I especially like the focus on relating to the only One who can make a difference. And, He can make a difference whether you go Trick-or-Treating on Oct 31, or if you go to a church Harvest Festival on Oct 31, or if you stay home on Oct 31. We need to remember this One every day whatever we are doing.

-Alan

Erin said...

Amen! I absolutely agree with you; you have a unique perspective on this and I appreciate you sharing.

Steve Sensenig said...

only a relationship with one Man will ever change a child’s heart from what it is, to what it can become.

Amen!!! That gave me chills as I read it.

Christy and I have had this discussion many times about our son (who is 15). And we have told him that, too. We've flat out told him, "We can't make you into what you should be. And we're not trying to. But we're telling you Who can, and praying that you'll eventually decide that what you've seen in us is worth emulating."

It's freeing in many ways, although it's very easy to let it get frightening, too. After all, I'm not controlling him! ;) But I believe you are absolutely right on this, and it was refreshing to see another parent make this observation.

Barb said...

I believed all my life that I could fix anything in my kids. I am great at solving relationship problems. But at one point in my daughters life I had to realize that even God chose not to control Adam and the very child of His who met with him every day decided to choose his own way. If Father could loose at this, than I certainly could. The weight of trying to be the perfect parent lifted off and I was able to get perspective that I was not to blame nor could I control the outcome. It was only then that I started to understand the love of the Father for us as he chased us down.

Steve Sensenig said...

Again, well said. I keep telling my son that I will pray for him always. And that I will continue to plead with him to choose life. And that I will never stop loving him no matter what he does.

Of course, while he is our son living in our home, we have a right to have "house rules", and he must respect those. But as far as trying to actually force him to love God -- what would that accomplish? It must come from his heart.