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Posts Tagged ‘pagan holidays’

Through the last few weeks I have been trying, once again, to understand the phenomenon of Halloween.  I call it that, because to me, I have no attraction to blatantly dark, evil things.  I suppose my temptations to the dark side are more subtle.  We all have to deal with unhealthy attractions in one way or another, but to openly embrace darkness as fun and exciting isn’t something I’ve ever really understood.  So I have been asking questions, observing, and exploring the concept from different angles.

This is cute and fun, and I enjoy this part of  fall celebrations.  Pumpkins, in their natural state, are beautiful and delicious.

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DSC_0915I even get why costumes are so much fun.  Who doesn’t love to dress up as something else?  It’s the play of childhood the rest of the year.  Grown ups love it too, and now do this at huge conventions all over the country in honor of their favorite pop-culture icons.Yes, we did have a discussion about how Darth Vader did come over to the good side of the Force and was reconciled to his son before he died. 🙂

But THIS is what I have such a hard time comprehending.  What is it about the human psyche that makes this so attractive?

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The roots of this holiday go back to the practice of dressing up as beings from the Netherworld in order to not be harassed by spirits of the departed who would be able to cross and cause trouble for the living on this night.  So is all this rooted in fear of death and the unknown?  If I become that which I fear, I will be protected from it?  This is my theory.  I don’t know if it’s true.  Most of the people I know who celebrate this holiday with gusto, are not “evil” or worshiping Satan in their closets at night.  People seem to enjoy being scared (hey, I love roller coasters), but I think more importantly we enjoy experiencing that which seems threatening, and realizing at the end of it, we are still okay.  It is an empowering ritual, and confronts our deepest fears about death and things that go bump in the night that we can’t see.

The thought occurs to me as well that any time we seek safety and security in anything but Jesus alone, and what He has done, we are celebrating a personal form of Halloween.  There is no cloak of safety in any human invention.  No mask can save us from the dark.  We need to take them off, in honesty, and embrace His Life.

I find that these celebrations (especially in remembering deceased ancestors and loved ones) are found in many cultures, past and present.  Usually practiced in the season where everything is dying off and the sun is waning, the natural world reminds us of our own impending mortality.

Maybe my lack of interest and attraction to these customs has to do with the fact that I have no fear or doubts about death, or any spirit without a body, because of my security in who I am in Jesus.  What better time of the year is there to share this GOOD NEWS to the world?   As many zealous Christians and HRM followers both understandably revile and abstain from this holiday,  I truly believe that in spite of all that seems dark and offensive, a deep truth lies beneath.  A truth that can be used as a foothold to bring Light, Hope, and Love to a world that has seen plenty of pain from the dark side.  In arguing so strongly against something, we sometimes unwittingly give it more power than it’s due, and magnify it.  I join my fellow humans in declaring victory over the fear of death.  Only in Jesus.   In Him there is no darkness or shadow.  It is vanished, because it has not power in itself.  That makes Halloween a reason to rejoice for me.

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I don’t think I have anything new to say about this topic I haven’t already shared, but this is a special time of year for us now – whereas we used to dread it because our abstinence created so much conflict and stress.  You think the holiday season is stressful?  Try explaining to everyone again and again why you don’t celebrate it at all!  That gets exhausting because it always leads to more and more why questions, and none of those answers led to Jesus, but to me.  One of the first questions people asked was, “Do you believe in Jesus?” and the answer was “Yes, but..” and in the ensuing explanation, Jesus got set aside.

This year has been incredibly difficult for us.  Looking back I can assess the experiences as speed bumps, but while going through it all, it felt more like racing toward a cliff.  I am looking forward to Christmas here at home with all my kids, and now a new grand baby too.  Just to be together and healthy fills my heart with so much gratitude for what He has brought us through.

Recently we have made a new group of friends who are not all Christians.  Tomorrow the kids are getting together to exchange crafts for a Christmas party.  I don’t have to make some excuse about why I can’t come.  I can go and pray for open doors to share Jesus… even though I am in great need of courage to share Him in a society that doesn’t need Him anymore.

There is another man who has this boldness for Christ and he has inspired me many times.  He lives where there is genuine risk of persecution, but he wants Christmas to be a time to draw people’s attention to Jesus, right in the city of His birth.  We can quibble over days and laws, but I would rather be filled with His Spirit to speak for Him whenever and wherever He leads.  Christmas, Ramadan, or Halloween.   What matters is that people see Him!

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Another moving testimony of deliverance from deception to the simplicity of Jesus!

It is with a grateful heart that I've received the following testimony.    From talking to those who have come out of Law-keeping sects, I understand that it can be a difficult thing to write about the experience.  Many thanks to "GirlLuvs2Read" for the following. This testimony will also appear on the Testimonies Page here at JGIG. If you have a testimony you’d like to share about coming out of the Hebrew Roots Movement (or a variation of the HR … Read More

via Joyfully Growing in Grace

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Just another Christmas reflection.  I have at least five posts in my head, but no one wants to think about them right now.  Not even me.  It’s nice to take a break and just enjoy the peace.  This year I would say we finally hit Christmas full swing, in a way I didn’t really want to do when we first began to acknowledge it again; parties, gift exchanges, mad-dash shopping at the last minute .  I even found myself with the Classical Christmas Pandora station playing today as I lit the candles around the nativity decorations.  The $8.00 artificial tree is lit up with its yard-sale decoration finds, (okay – some are dollar-store new).

I also did something I had not done in a very long time.  I popped in on some people with some small symbols of our affection (truly, the thought has to count because my dollars don’t).  As the big day gets closer, so many people come to my mind that I love and am so thankful for.  People I don’t think to tell.  At other times it might be more awkward, but this time of year gives everyone permission to be a little mushy, even those of us who are mush-challenged, like me.  I think of people I won’t have time to contact, those I don’t know how to reach, and those I just plum forgot. 😦   My heart breaks for those who are alone but we’ve also enjoyed the privilege of sharing a little with those in need.  We ourselves have been in need these past few months – yet miraculously, we have managed to give more than ever before.

Today I was thinking how this “Spirit of Christmas” ….. this urge to give and love….is such a beautiful reflection of the heart of God.  And such a small speck in contrast to what He gave when He left the glory of heaven to born to a young woman with her reputation on the line, in a barn, to sleep in a feeding trough, wrapped in strips of cloth intended for newborn animals.  To lead such a humble life, a sacrificial life, and death.

I believe it’s good for us to empty ourselves a little for others, every day of the year.  But at Christmas it’s nearly irresistible.  I remember that being the hardest call to leave unanswered during our years of Christmas abstinence.  I still felt that urge strongly and would see little gifts I knew “so and so” would like, but then stop, remembering “we don’t do that anymore.”

It would be great if everyone could give like Christmas all year, but thankful that for a few days, it becomes a nearly universal practice.  Even those who take no thought of the Christian theme of this day, still reflect the Giver who made them.   I still hate the retail-driven frenzy that invades what could just be simple and beautiful.  But I have learned to block that out and keep my eyes on Him who gave all for me.

May your Christmas make you a blessing.

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