The Miracle of a Christmas Restoration, Everyday

The Miracle of a Christmas Restoration, Everyday

I need a sign!?! I need a miracle!?! I'm so confused. I don't see break-through. I don't hear God. Nothing is happening. There is no movement, nothing has changed!?!?!?! Where is the restoration? If we haven't said it aloud--I'm sure we have ALL thought it! We are so focused outward sometimes...tunnel vision on WHAT a miracle, a sign, break-through and even restoration is supposed to look like.

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Christmas Eve Prayer for the Hurting

"Your father is dying and you need to come quickly if you want to say your last goodbyes."  I remember receiving that call in the middle of the night on a Christmas Eve several years ago. At the time, it zapped the life from me and momentarily destroyed my hopes for all anticipations of  any Christmas Day laughter or joyous family festivities. hurting

Immediately, I called a close friend who came and spent the night with our children so that they could stay at home and open their gifts. I  recall wanting that for them, realizing that I would have to later break the news that Papa had passed away.

My father had been placed on a ventilator and the next few weeks were spent sleeping in an ICU family waiting room chair awaiting his prognosis. Miraculously through medicine, a team of great medical nurses and physicians and a mighty, powerful, divine touch from the Great Physician, my dad escaped that near Christmas death.

It's Not Always a  Holly Jolly Christmas

You see, for many the Christmas season is not always filled with the jolly sounds of laughter. For some there are tears, questions, hurts and even grief.  My prayer for you this Christmas is that no matter what you are going through, no matter how critical your situation, that God will encamp around you, give you peace and mend your broken heart....

Christmas Eve Prayer for the Hurting

Father God, I pray right now for those who are filled with grief, anxiety, sadness and fear on this Christmas Eve. I pray that You will surround them with Your holy presence and that You will give them clarity, divine wisdom and peace for their circumstances.

I pray for Your healing balm to saturate every heart and mind and to soothe broken spirits. Lord, I pray that You will begin to restore crippled, broken relationships, that You will comfort those who are grieving the death of a child, loved one or close friend, that You will provide miraculous provisions for those who are struggling financially, that You will touch those dealing with the pain and fears of disease and cancer, that You will be with those who are away from families and fighting for our freedom.

Lord, we ask that You will send Your angels to hover over those who are crushed because of shattered hopes and dreams. We realize Father that we can not fix their wounds, but You can.

God, You care deeply for the brokenhearted people. You declare in Your Word that You bind up their wounds. We ask in the name of Jesus, that You will release Your healing power and begin to remove bitterness, past hurts, anger, unforgiveness, and any critical spirit within us. Fill us with Your love and cause us to seek you with all of our hearts, pointing our hearts toward You and reconciliation.

Lord, above all, help us to realize that all of the gifts we may receive, there is only one that we really need and that is Your presence for Christmas. Help us to trust You with all of our broken pieces. Thank You, God, for the true miracle and hope of Christmas found in the birth of Your Son, Jesus. Now may Your favor, love, hope and joy rest upon each home. In the name of Jesus we pray,  Amen.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” Luke 2:8-14 

 

WHAT'S HOLDING YOU BACK?? BREAK FREE IN 2014!! Dove recording artist Sarah Groves, Sherry Jennings and I will share from own personal struggles and how you can be set free from your bondage in the name of JESUS! That's not all! We will have over 50 vendors on site with shopping, a concert and a TONS of PRIZES!!!! Tickets are on sale at www.bridgechurch.cc Bring your church groups! Bus and van parking is available!

IWM 2013 cc

We're linking up with some AMAZING bloggers…check out the links at the bottom right of the page.

Intentionally Yours is a 501(c)3 organization committed to sharing God's truth, hope and vision for marriage until every home is a godly home. Will you partner with us in this mission? Thank you for your support!

Enlarge Your Heart!

Enlarge Your Heart = Enlarge Your Experience of Pain and JOY! It is a paradox! At this time of year, it is hard to go shopping without seeing someone on the street corner begging for money or food. The holidays are full of families that are struggling to buy even one present for each other. There are children that might not experience a happy holiday because of the fighting in their house. The struggles of single parent homes weighing down the burdens on a child are endless. You would have to be blind, or deaf to not see or hear the “pain” that surround us during this time of year.  

heart

At the same time, this time of year is full of JOY, HAPPINESS, MIRACLES, and GIVING. You would also have to be blind or deaf to not notice the presence of these amazing qualities during Christmas. There are families that are being helped by churches to provide meals and presents for their children. There are shelters providing warm meals for the homeless. There are food drives in local cities and food drives in churches to provide meals to those in need.

So, it is a paradox! The story of Christmas and Santa Claus started with a Saint. He has many names, but Saint Nicholas is one of them. Saint Nicholas saw a need; he enlarged his heart and chose to not place blinders on his eyes. The Santa Claus of today is based on a real man, St. Nicholas of Myra.

Who was St. Nick?

The history of St. Nicholas states that he was born into a wealthy family. His parents died, and left him a large sum of money. Nicholas didn’t keep any of the money though. One of the events in his life tie him to three young ladies that were about to be forced into prostitution. He threw bags of gold into their windows to help them get out of their tormented life. His life was full of his “enlarged heart” actions, and the people chose him to be their bishop. As a bishop, he was imprisoned. St. Nicholas didn’t spend a life of ease, and relaxation. He saw pain, suffering, and gave from his heart. He believed in someone else that did the same thing.

God saw the misery and pain on earth. He heard the groans coming from earth due to SIN.

We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. ~Romans 8:22

God’s heart was enlarged toward us, and he sent us a gift, a Savior…JESUS CHRIST. It was promised hundreds of years before it came to pass.

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. ~Isaiah 7:14

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. ~Isaiah 9:6-7

God gave Jesus Christ to us freely, knowing that He would be a sacrifice. St. Nicholas gave his gold away and stood for Christianity under oppression. He was imprisoned. Maybe, just maybe St. Nicholas knew that this “free gift” of everlasting life was worth it. It was worth all the risk and suffering. Jesus is worth it. Do you think it is worth it?

You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. All men will hate you because of me. But not a hair of your head will perish. By standing firm you will gain life. ~Luke 21:16-19

And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. ~Luke 14:27

Is it worth it?

YES, St. Nicholas thought it was worth it, and so do I. We give gifts this season to celebrate the free gift of Jesus Christ, our Savior. The story of Santa Claus points directly at Jesus.

For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. ~John 3:16

There is one more promise for us that believe in Jesus. He is coming again, and what a joyous event that will be. Here is that promise…

Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with Me, and I will give to everyone according to what He has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. ~Revelation 22:12

He is coming soon, and the hour is unknown. If you haven’t accepted the FREE gift of salvation, please let someone know today that you want to receive it. Do not go through another Christmas Season not having the assurance of eternal life with Jesus Christ. Send us a message at scott@intentionallyyours.org and we will rejoice with you and pray with you.

Merry Christmas, ENLARGE YOUR HEART, and shine for Jesus…whatever the cost, it’s WORTH IT!!!!

 

Dove recording artist Sarah Groves, Beverly Weeks and Sherry Jennings will share from their own personal struggles and how you can be set free from your bondage in the name of JESUS! That's not all! We will have over 50 vendors on site with shopping, a concert and a TONS of PRIZES!!!! Tickets are on sale at www.bridgechurch.cc Bring your church groups! Bus and van parking is available!

IWM 2013 cc

We're linking up with some AMAZING bloggers…check out the links at the bottom right of the page.

Intentionally Yours is a 501(c)3 organization committed to sharing God's truth, hope and vision for marriage until every home is a godly home. Will you partner with us in this mission? Thank you for your support!

No More Bah-Humbug!

jesus

Last night as I peered through the window of my front dining room, I watched all the new colors exploding in the dark. The trees were covered with bright lights and ribbons, the bushes flanked by white and multi-colored bulbs and the neighborhood post lanterns were adorned with garland of pine cones and tinsel. jesus

Later, I listened to the sounds as my children giggled and shouted out as we placed the finishing touches on our decorations, while singing Deck The Halls, devouring homemade cookies and enjoying our favorite family movies, Home Alone, Little Orphan Annie, and of course a little  Star Wars.

Seriously Who Are You Kidding?

That part of the chorus of the famous Christmas song that says, "if only in my dreams" has taken on a new meaning! Who am I kidding??? Somebody pass the jar of crunchy peanut butter, a sleeve of White Chocolate Covered Oreos and a bag of peanut M&M's, I’m gonna need it!  Well, it sounded good.

Let's get candid. I exaggerated just a wee little bit!  It was more like my kids were shouting at EACH OTHER, they were definitely NOT shouting out with glee and it was far from YIPEE!!! "Momma, he is looking at me," to which my son replies, "Macy take a hike and stop ruining my life!"

On top of that the tree is up, the ribbon is tied and I just noticed that I have two daggon' strands of lights out! I’ll just hide it with some tinsel. And homemade cookies? Where did that come from, last night was Spaghettios, cereal and a bag of sour worms for dessert!

Stressed Out, Burned Out & Pulling My Hair Out

You know I can remember a few times in the past,  sitting in the corner of a room, exhausted, literally in tears, stressing because I had only gotten up three trees, instead of the five I had hoped to decorate and have in place. Had I forgotten the true meaning of the holiday season? What had I chosen to make it? All the while, some young unfortunate child somewhere was desperately wishing, hoping, praying for just the glimmer of one tree. I had the power to offer hope even if to just one child...

What Does Jesus Think of Holiday Stress?

You know, there is a humorous little story in the Gospel of Luke that shows how busyness and stress gets in the way of what matters most. It wasn’t his birthday, or a Christmas celebration but it was a party, and Jesus was the honored guest… Let's look:

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him.  She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!" ~Luke 10:38-42

Honeychild, I can tell you it's obvious that Martha was feeling the stress while she was rushing around trying to get everything ready – after all, Jesus was in her house!

The Cure For Christmas Stress

But now let’s read on as Jesus replies:

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” ~Luke 10:41

You see, Martha was so distracted about all the preparations and she had gotten  her priorities so out of line, that she was missing the most important gift, which is the presence of Jesus.

I Want To Be Like Mary

As I have gotten older I have come to realize, it's okay... If every bow is not tied perfectly, don't stress if you can't attend every party or function, why worry if you don't make every red tag sale, is the anxiety really worth it if you can't find the perfect shoes or earrings for that sweater?

What is important is that you take the time to share this season with friends and loved ones and truly experience the real meaning of the Christmas season. My friend, this year I want to be like Mary and sit at the feet of Jesus just basking in His sweet presence.

I want to know Him more! I want to worship Him, praise Him, I want to serve Him! Of all the gifts I may receive, there is only one that I really need. Lord, I want your presence for Christmas.

 Oh come let us adore Him, Oh come let us adore Him, Oh Come let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.

 

Dove recording artist Sarah Groves, Sherry Jennings and I will share from own personal struggles and how you can be set free from your bondage in the name of JESUS! That's not all! We will have over 50 vendors on site with shopping, a concert and a TONS of PRIZES!!!! Tickets are on sale at www.bridgechurch.cc Bring your church groups! Bus and van parking is available!

IWM 2013 cc

We're linking up with some AMAZING bloggers…check out the links at the bottom right of the page.

Intentionally Yours is a 501(c)3 organization committed to sharing God's truth, hope and vision for marriage until every home is a godly home. Will you partner with us in this mission? Thank you for your support!

What's in Your Way?

What's in Your Way?

In the midst of the Christmas season, teachings about the wise men who followed a star to worship Jesus in the manger are everywhere. Last year, our pastor shared about the obstacles that the wise men faced as they attempted to reach the newborn King in His humble accommodation. As I listened to him teach, I couldn't help but think: the wise men faced a difficult journey of distance, persecution, difficult terrain, and to be sure they didn't have a Garmin, but they still managed to find Him and to bring Him their gifts. Why then, does it seem so hard for us to find time in our lives for Jesus?

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I Saw Mommy Hissing At Santa Clause

Somebody pass the double stuffed Oreos and a jar of crunchy peanut butter. This girl is about to step all over her hot pink, polka dot painted toes, and I'm gonna need a pedicure by the time I am finished! Seriously, could I have Ebenezer Scrooge’s DNA in my genes? It never fails, about this time of year I get me a little Grinch ATTITUDE.  You know I  have been known to pucker up that bottom lip, sway those hands in the air and do some  momma mania shouting. Need I remind you, NONE of my actions honor the King!

christmas

There is the stress of the parties, functions, plays and events, the traffic, the endless search for the last minute gift (that you NEVER can find), and even the infamous throwing of the bathroom scales, after weighing in almost four pounds heavier in one week! Of course, I guess the weight gain should come as little surprise considering I devoured a whole sleeve of my favorite white chocolate- covered Oreos and ate more than my share at a local buffet.

Blame It on The Time of The Month

Ladies, just being candid, my Christmas stress always comes along at the wrong time of the month! You know, that one time when you cannot get enough of anything, chocolate or deep-fried.  It is that one time of the month when you feel you weigh a ton and your hormones are so out of whack that you cry even at coffee and dog food commercials. Heaven forbid you turn on It’s A Wonderful Life or Little House on the Prairie……pass the Kleenex! Seriously, last night, while watching The Waltons I felt like I was having an emotional melt down...

The Part Where I go to Hissing

Honeychild, I ain't gonna lie, it is during these times that I have been known to lash out at my husband. Yes, you heard me right. No matter how spiritual you are, we all have sinful selfish desires because we are all sinners and sometimes when we don’t get our way, a quarrel is sure to follow.

There have been occasions that I have had to remind myself to take the focus off of me and my wants, and through God’s power, I have to pray for what is best for me, my husband, and our family.  You see God’s word clearly tells us in the book of James that when we don't handle our words and thoughts in a gracious manner, trouble is sure to follow.

What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. ~James 4:1-3

Humbled & Seeking Forgiveness

Just being candid, I had to do something this weekend that was very humbling. I called a family meeting and in front of my husband and the kids, I just had to say “I am sorry.”  You see, anger is inevitable. Anger itself is not wrong, but as a child of God, I have to choose: Will I  handle that anger and hurt with bitterness or will I  handle it in a Christ-like manner?

There are times when I just have to  pour out my heart to God. I have to seek forgiveness where I need to, and ask  the Lord to help me to seek Him first during the Christmas season.

This Christmas season when I start to feel sad, I will start counting my blessings. When I begin to feel myself getting down, or depressed, I will count more blessings. Believe me, my life and your life, my friend, are filled with plenty of blessings! I want to be intentionally thankful and grateful!

Trading In My Hissing For A Little Kissing!

This Christmas season when my kids sneak down the stairs, I want to hear  them  singing, “I saw mommy kissing Santa Claus underneath the Mistletoe last night.”  Better yet... hmmm...I am thinking  there is a verse coming on that says "I saw mommy tickle Santa Claus…"

Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not put them down, not cut them out. ~Colossians 4:6  MSG

 

  Dove recording artist Sarah Groves, Sherry Jennings and I will share from own personal struggles and how you can be set free from your bondage in the name of JESUS! That's not all! We will have over 50 vendors on site with shopping, a concert and a TONS of PRIZES!!!! Tickets are on sale at www.bridgechurch.cc Bring your church groups! Bus and van parking is available!

IWM 2013 cc

We're linking up with some AMAZING bloggers…check out the links at the bottom right of the page.

Intentionally Yours is a 501(c)3 organization committed to sharing God's truth, hope and vision for marriage until every home is a godly home. Will you partner with us in this mission? Thank you for your support!

Blending Christmas Traditions

One of our favorite questions to ask in Marriage 101, our premarital life group, is "Where will you spend Christmas this year?" Inevitably, most of the couples hadn't really talked about it, but instead made the assumptions that they would continue the family traditions they grew up with. The mysterious union of two lives brings all the expectations from growing up differently. How on earth do we honor our family traditions and not go crazy trying to meet their expectations over the holidays? traditions

Scott and I grew up fairly differently, bringing our traditions and expectations with us into marriage.

Hers

In my family, anticipation built through most of December in anticipation of Christmas Eve, the day we'd go in search of the perfect Christmas tree, bring it home, spend the evening decorating it and the house, laughing and enjoying each other. Dinner was usually pizza from our favorite pizza joint, Pizza Palace, where I worked most of my high school years. Decorating the most delicious Christmas sugar cookies was also part of the fun. After the cookies were decorated, the tree was decked and pizza gone, we'd go to midnight mass together, then come home and fall into bed exhausted but excited for what the morning would bring.

Christmas morning, we'd wake up to the smell of turkey cooking, excitedly wake up our parents, and the wrapping paper started flying as soon as they came downstairs. After the present extravaganza, dad would make the most amazing breakfast of eggs and bacon. Then we were dressed and outside playing for hours on end. We stayed home for Christmas, most of our extended family in upstate New York, far from our home in Connecticut. But that was okay, home was where we were, and I LOVED waking up in my own bed, sneaking into the living room to see Christmas morning in all its glory.

His

Scott's family decorated the house and tree sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Far from their extended families, they, too, celebrated Christmas at home, waking up in their own beds. They cherished time together Christmas morning with a special bread called stollen. And the opening of presents was orderly and one at a time, savoring the anticipation, and watching the delight in the eyes of the recipient as well as the giver.

Ours

Scott and I have blended our families' traditions and started some of our own. Around December first, we set up the creche Scott's dad made, a ceramic lighted tree (similar to the one my mom has- my sister made it for us!), and an advent ark we found to count the days until Christmas. Scott and Steven enjoying hanging lights on the front of the house mid December. We don't wait until Christmas Eve to get our tree, but we do wait until the Saturday before Christmas to go in search of the perfect Christmas tree and invite dear friends to decorate it with us, eating, laughing and enjoying Christmas cheer. We'll enjoy our church's Christmas Eve Candlelight Celebration, then head home to sit on the sofa and gaze at the beautiful tree, sometimes laying under it to look up through the tree, lights and tinsel shimmering.

Christmas morning is a tranquil morning. Scott and I get up and enjoy quiet time together over coffee while enjoying the tree and music before our teenager wakes up. When he does, we open presents, eat and laugh. We read and we nap. It's a blessed time together.

A New Tradition

A special tradition we've embraced is that each night we read a verse from Matthew 1, starting with Matthew 1:1 on December 1, Matthew 1:1-2 on December 2 and so on until December 25. It's a long list of people, reads like a phone book, and we tend to skip over it, don't we? DON'T! Did you know that Matthew 1 is the story of Jesus' birth and His genealogy? It's an amazing journey through why we need a Savior. Jesus' family tree is filled with men and women who stumbled with adultery, murder, lying, prostitution, incest, who put Him on the cross. Jesus' genealogy is important to hear loudly that it doesn't matter who we are, how jacked up we are or where we're from, there's a place for us in Jesus' family. I love the way Mars Hill shares about it here. Spending December 1-25 reading Matthew 1:1-25 is a precious time nightly for our family. Check it out, you can jump in any time!

Talk about it with your spouse and pray together about which traditions to bring into your family. Which ones are meaningful? Which ones will foster oneness together as you combine your families? Pray about new traditions to start together.

What does Christmas look like in YOUR house?

 

Military Minded: Check out these posts from Excellent or Praiseworthy:  What Did You Expect?Lonely ChristmasHolidays In a War ZonePeople are WatchingChristmas Presence, and Not a Silent Night.

Dove recording artist Sarah Groves, Beverly Weeks and I will share from own personal struggles and how you can be set free from your bondage in the name of JESUS! That's not all! We will have over 50 vendors on site with shopping, a concert and a TONS of PRIZES!!!! Tickets are on sale at www.bridgechurch.cc NOW! Bring your church groups! Bus and van parking is available!

IWM 2013 fb

We're linking up with some AMAZING bloggers…check out the links at the bottom right of the page.

Intentionally Yours is a 501(c)3 organization committed to sharing God's truth, hope and vision for marriage until every home is a godly home. Will you partner with us in this mission? Thank you for your support!

The Blended Holiday

The Blended Holiday

This is the day the Lord has made.  We will rejoice and be glad in it. ~Psalms 118:24 (NLT) I thought I'd start out with a verse of encouragement, mostly for myself, because thinking back to the first time I had to plan a holiday without my children brings back so many memories, and reminds me that I will have to prepare myself for this same situation again this year.

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Stumbling through Halloween

*writer's note: this blog was written several weeks prior to its actual post date. Some sections have been updated based on my own conversations & study since then. My son came home from church all excited! The Happy Haunts Hayride is just around the corner! He can hardly wait! This has been the biggest “youth ministry” event of the year for the past four years. Kids literally line up in droves! Why? To ride in a trailer pulled by a tractor, loaded up with hay, and to be scared out of their wits at different points along the route by people dressed up as werewolves, clowns (yes, clowns) and even the undead (zombies).

This will be the same week as Halloween, but not ON Halloween. And our church will be hosting a “Harvest Fest” carnival in the church parking lot on October 31 – where anyone and everyone is welcome. So it’s “for a good cause” and that makes everything better.

Right?

So why am I not excited? Why do I even have an issue wanting to allow my kids to take part in this?

halloween

Have you ever studied the origins of Halloween?

Here’s the basics: Its origins are from the ancient Celts (2000+ years ago), who called it the Festival of Samhain.  It was all about ushering out the harvest season and ushering in winter, and this happened on the eve of October 31 and during the day on November 1. It included bonfires (bone fires) where animal (and reportedly sometimes human) sacrifices were made to the god of harvest. Costumes were worn for a variety of reasons – including hiding from malevolent spirits who were said to be trapped on the earth. Then everyone would take fire back home from the bonfire (often using turnips or pumpkins) to light their hearths, and place treats on the porch to appease any of those wandering spirits (trick or treat). The practices associated with the Festival of Samhain have varied through the years, but include psychic readings (divination), attempted communication with the dead, and other pagan practices. Even “bobbing for apples” was once associated with divination.

Then in the 800s AD, the early church in England tried to “Christianize” the old Celtic festival. Pope Boniface IV designated November 1 as “All Saints Day” – a day to honor saints & martyrs – particularly those who did not have a specific day of honor already assigned to them. And October 31 was decreed “All Hallows Eve”. This was shortened by the common folk to Hallow’een. But the poor ignorant saps just kept on practicing their pagan rituals even on this newly sanctified day. And while the traditions have changed somewhat over the years, a lot of what the general public does on Halloween in the modern era is still deeply rooted in old, pagan customs from that originated before the birth of Christ.

Wiccans and other specifically pagan groups consider Halloween (they still call it Festival of Samhain) to be a very important day of the year. They view October 31 as a time when the veil between the physical and spiritual worlds is thinnest, and when it is easiest to communicate with those “on the other side”. Many witches still perform ritual to “honor the dead” and practice forms of divination to communicate with the deceased.

What does the Word say?

Again, these are just the basics. There’s a lot more information available from a variety of sources. I’ve done a lot of study on the matter, and through the years I’ve formed a pretty educated opinion of this “holiday.” Its pagan origins are enough to make me wary. Add in all the specific activities that still take place today, and I just can’t get comfortable with it. But how I feel really doesn’t matter. I look to scripture as the final authority on all matters. And of course, I don’t see anything specific about “Thou Shalt not celebrate the Festival of Samhain.” But there are many passages that sure give me plenty of pause. Here are a few:

You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. ~1 Corinthians 10:21

There shall not be found among you any one that makes his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that uses divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch. ~Deuteronomy 18:10 

Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.Ephesians 5:11

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.Romans 12:9

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. ~Ephesians 6:12 

Scripture has much to say about being light and not darkness, following Christ and not the world (or evil or satan). We are taught plenty about being in the world but not of the world. If you dared to do your own web search, you would literally find hundreds of scripture passages warning us about what happens when people of God co-mingle our beliefs and practices with the ways of the world. It's just dangerous.

And then there’s James 4:17....If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.

So, what do you do?

Last year I, personally, spent October 31 on a prayer walk through neighborhoods near our church. It might’ve been the best “Hallow’een” I’ve had in years. Meanwhile, the rest of my family took part in our “Fall Festival” in the church parking lot. Which, by the way, I think is redundant in itself. After all, it’s like the church has once again tried to cover over the practices surrounding Halloween with yet another activity- which still includes some aspects of the original pagan practices.

I'm still left wondering: what should I do this year? How should I lead my family? How firmly do I put my foot down about this? We’ve never “dressed up for Halloween.” In fact, when my daughter was in preschool, that became cause for a lot of tears when her class was encouraged to dress up, but we would not allow it. And then it became a cause for frustration when the teacher gave her a costume anyway – against our wishes.

And so it has been every year. This complex struggle to do what is right, to walk what feels like a spiritual tight rope between “common sense” and good biblical doctrine. To be in the world, but not of the world. And for some reason, it just seems to be more difficult on this one day of the year than at any other time.

I once heard someone say that taking part in Halloween practices with the mindset of “I’m not celebrating anything evil so it’s okay for me to do this” is like drinking cyanide with the thought “I don’t consider this to be poison, so surely I won’t die.” Hmm...maybe a little overly drastic, but there's some truth in that too.

And after all, I put up a Christmas tree in my home every year. And of course the Christmas tree has origins around worshiping a pagan god with emphasis around fertility. So how do I reconcile that? Very poorly, I'm afraid. But maybe I digress...maybe not...?

And then I think of 1 Corinthians 10, where the Apostle Paul warns believers not to eat meat that has been sacrificed to idols or demons. Not because it would necessarily harm them, but because it could potentially harm their witness.

That’s really it, isn’t it? Apostle Paul tells believers “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble.”

And I wonder…what is the best approach to Halloween, or anything associated with it, so that no one would stumble? I don't pretend to have the answers. I don't think a spooky hayride or a church carnival would necessarily cause people to consider practicing witchcraft or getting involved in evil practices. No more than having a Christmas tree would cause someone to start worshiping a fake god of fertility.  But then again...what if it did...?

What are your convictions surrounding Halloween?

 

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