Tuesday, October 31, 2017

31 Days of the Joys of Autumn - Halloween and Reformation

Here we are! October 31st! The last day of October! Today marks the the final day of Crystal Stine's Write 31 Days writing challenge, and this will be the final post in my 31 Days of the Joys of Autumn series

It is also Halloween. 

And it is also Reformation Day. In fact, today marks the
500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. It was
on October 31, 1517 that Martin Luther nailed the 95
Thesis to the door of the church at Wittenberg, sparking the Reformation and forever changing the course of church history.

I grew up celebrating Halloween. My dad wasn't real keen on it and his mother, my grandmother, Maudie, was totally against it, but, my mother always interceded on my behalf and made sure that I didn't miss out on the fun of dressing up, attending Halloween parties, and going trick-or-treating with my friends. Halloween was one of my favorite holidays.

As a teenager, I would come up with elaborate costumes, attend more sophisticated Halloween parties, and tour haunted houses with friends.

When I was 18, being on the rebound from someone else, I met and married a satanic priest. I didn't know that he was a satanic priest when I married him, but I did find out shortly afterwards, and that's when the dark side of the spirit world became very real and very scary. That marriage didn't last long, but, with a little more caution than before (and being a lot more aware of the dark side of things than I was before), I still continued to choose to participate in and celebrate Halloween.

In fact, as a family, we celebrated Halloween whole-heartedly until 1988. That was the last year that we embraced and celebrated Halloween. By that point the Lord was really dealing with us about it and when, after the biggest and most elaborate Halloween party that we had ever had, when our children said, "Do we HAVE to do this???" That's when my husband and I knew that it was time to stop. We said, "No, we don't have to do this!" And we didn't from that time forward.

After that we went through a series of other things though. The truth is, we didn't know how to deal with October 31st at all. For the first two or three years out we focused on having a backyard autumn festival of sorts for the children with fun activities that didn't revolve around anything even remotely connected to Halloween. 

Later on, when my husband and I became active in our church, we decided to turn the front porch light on and use Halloween as an opportunity for ministry. We handed out gospel tracts, along with the candy that we gave to trick-or-treaters. We enjoyed doing this very much!

Then, we learned about the Protestant Reformation...which was a wonderful thing! Up to that point only the hierarchy of the Catholic Church was allowed to read and study the Holy Scriptures. Then they would interpret and relate it to the people however they chose (or chose not) to. The Protestant Reformation resulted in the Bible being translated into many languages and being put into the hands of the common people to read and study for themselves. What a wonderful, wonderful privilege it is to have the Bible...God's Holy Word...written in our own language...being able to hold it in our own hands...free to read and study it for ourselves. Can you imagine living in a time when that was not allowed? If caught doing so, the penalty was often death.

So...okay...we learned about the Reformation and off went the porch light again. Instead of spreading light on the darkest night of the year, we chose, instead, to turn in to ourselves and study the great reformers...which in and of itself is not a bad thing at all...but there was no balance. We would spend weeks learning about a specific reformer and, then, on October 31st, we would gather together with others to celebrate Reformation Day...which, again...is NOT a bad thing AT ALL! In fact, more Christians should take the time to study and learn about church history (it's soooo important!)...BUT...just because we were learning about the Reformation didn't mean that we had to ignore the opportunity to be a light in the darkness.

So...now...here we are...October 31, 2017. I can, in no way,  embrace or celebrate Halloween. I know way too much about it to do so in good conscience. BUT I can't ignore it, either. It's out there. And I'd be lying if I told you that it no longer had a pull on me, because it does. I have way too much Celtic (and most likely Druid) blood in me for it not to. But it's a great time to continue moving forward in overcoming the flesh and it's a great time to minister to and share with others, which is exactly how we plan to spend our evening.

And, despite the fact that we've gone from ditch-to-ditch (and every where in between) in trying to find the Lord's will in all of this, this time of year continues to be a personal challenge and one of the many joys of autumn for me, individually, and for us, as a family.

Until next time...

"The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it" (John 1:5).

Recent posts that you might enjoy:

31 Days of the Joys of Autumn - Bonfires

31 Days of the Joys of Autumn - Native American Cuisine

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