I wasn’t too keen on writing this post. It was actually a request from a friend. I usually try to steer away from very polarizing content, and you would think that as South Africans, Halloween wouldn’t even be on the radar. But on TV and in the media, in shopping malls and at schools it’s a thing (mostly because money is a thing, am I right?)! Sometimes we humans are just such suckers!
So please, if you read this, this is not an indictment on anyone’s culture or traditions. It’s one mom’s directive to her boys to navigate a difficult, complicated and often dark world in God’s light. Mostly I’m just winging it, seriously, I am no expert on anything! If you have been to this blog before, you know that I only really have one message, and that is Jesus. So if that’s not your vibe, this is not a blog for you. No offense meant, and none taken, I promise! One of the biggest hallmarks of maturity is the ability to agree to disagree and still be kind about it.
Here is how it went down at our house. At the Browns, our definition of truth is God’s opinion about everything. And so in a lot of ways that makes even complex situations and decisions simple. Even if the Bible doesn’t outright tell us about something by name, it provides principles that appear again and again throughout that guide us in making good decisions. Such as:
Kids are spiritual beings (Jer 1 v 5): From a young age I wanted to remain aware of the fact that my kids are spiritual beings and that I should treat them as such. Don’t think because your little one is too young to understand a situation that their spirit doesn’t have insight. When The Elder was 4 I took him to a bookshop and pulled down a handful of books off the shelves in the children’s section. I told him that we can sense light and darkness by the way certain settings, images, places and people make us feel and I tested it by showing him different book covers and asking him if this makes him feel “light” or “dark”. He was very easily able to tell the difference and it was one of the first ways I used to introduce the kids the idea that they have the ability inside them to spiritually discern things. I didn’t have to teach him, he was able to sense it. This has been the basis for many discussions since, and I continue to pray that my sons will always know when something doesn’t feel right or look right and that they would be able to listen to those spiritual promptings. And we try to consistently teach them to be careful what they expose themselves to.
And we live in a spiritual world (Eph 2 v 1-10) where there are consistently 2 forces at play, good and evil. The world is filled with goodness from God and evil from Satan. That is the reality. But I don’t feel that it is enough or even right to just say to my kids, no and avoid and don’t when it comes to this kind of thing! That doesn’t seem brave nor productive. Thank goodness thanks to a Bible-believing Christian community and church we have alternatives that we can expose our kids to on days like Halloween, that respond to the celebration of evil and darkness with an intentional celebration on all that is positive and uplifting and evil overcoming!
Thank goodness there remains more in this world to be brave about – chiefly thanks to the fact the Jesus wins! Thank goodness good is still worth a party too!
Every newscast of every day feels like a hailing of the darkness in our world – do we really need a day set aside for more darkness when the light we have is so worthy of celebration? Because we are not called to hide, we are called to honour the truth that is inside of each of us, that Jesus has overcome evil (1 John 4 v 4), making us overcomers also!
We are called to walk in the Light (1 John 1 v 5-7): That is our calling as believers, a calling to walk where Jesus is, where the light is.
This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.
And called to keep away from the works of darkness (Eph 5 v 11). If a 4-year-old can discern the differents between works of darkness and things of the light, you don’t need a theology degree to work out that things relating to sorcery, witchcraft,wicca (for whom Halloween is a high and holy day – for real!) paganism, wizardry, death, ghosts, demons, zombies, spells, soothsaying, star-signs etc are an abomination to God. You just need to be able to read.
Christianity is counter-cultural (1 John 2 v 15-16): A faith of countercultural virtues, like patience and meekness and hope, that is the one we profess. And as believers, we must continue to be bold in opposing that which is out of step with the Gospel (Gal 2 v 19 – 20). When it comes to choosing video games, books, TV programs, movies pastimes, clothes, whatever, I often see how hard it is for the boys to accept that something different guides our life and our choices. I get that! I get that it’s hard! But the other thing I always tell the boys, is that conviction and comfort don’t live on the same street, and I would rather they, very early on, get used to the fact that everyone isn’t the same, don’t choose the same, don’t live the same way and learn to be ok with being different in that way. How do you think I’ve been getting away with them not having iPads for this long?
If you want a religion to make you feel comfortable, I certainly don’t recommend Christianity – CS Lewis
If the roots are bad, the fruits are bad (Matt 7 v 18). Thank goodness you only have to walk out into nature to explain this even to a toddler. Based on this principle we don’t involve our kids with things that find their roots in the occult, wizardry, eastern mysticism, or other religions. So no yoga, no martial arts, and no Harry Potter here and yes, no Halloween. And yes, I know, we are weird like that.
Did you know that I wrote a book about this and other topics, from culture to current affairs, from faith to friendship, to help you have gospel lead and Bible based conversations with your kids? Check it out here!
And Momma, don’t underestimate the spirit that is alive in your child, regardless of age. I know it’s heavy stuff, but I can’t help but think we are in that age that Isaiah was talking about when he said in Is 5 v 20 – 21:Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil, who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness, who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and clever in their own sight! Just because our kids are young let’s not call things innocent that are not innocent. I cannot pray for God’s protection over my boys on one hand and knowingly compromise my child s spirit on the other.
Let’s continue to pray for the grace and the wisdom to raise kids that are wise about what is good and innocent about what is evil (Rom 16 v19), and let’s continue to be brave together!