Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Becoming More Like The World

I want to start out saying what this blog post is NOT. I am sure there will be some offended by this post and think I am speaking of them, or about their own personal choices. While I do not participate in the activities I am going to write about I am not going to point a finger of legality and tell someone to stop doing something. The closest I will get is to highly recommend searching scripture and seeing what your actions represent - this world or the Holy God if the Universe.

Romans 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

I know many people that celebrate Halloween. Out of them I will assume that the majority are either admitting to not be Christians, some professing to be Christians and then a small percentage true believers of Christ. I say that fearfully, because the subject of this "holiday" has its roots in the occult and pagan rituals. And yes, I know that Christmas also had its start way back as an alternative to pagan rituals. I do not condone the worldly celebrations of Christmas either, just as I do not condone anything that is not focused on Jesus Christ Himself.

I do not want to go into pointing fingers, throwing accusations or causing division because we don't agree on celebrating Halloween or not, that is not my intent not my mindset. I just want to address something that was really brought to the forefront of my mind this morning, while hearing a conversation that a few of my coworkers were having about "trick-or-treaters" last night. The usual "did you have fun" kind of small talk went on for a few moments, then the subject of how many little goblins and ghouls showed up wanting their little bags filled with sugary snacks. It seemed that these folks were disappointed that not many had stopped by their doors looking for a treat. The next words are what really exposed what this "holiday" is becoming; "Yeah, I don't think as many kids are trick or treating because all of the churches are doing the trunk or treats". Wow, that just really hit home to me at that moment.

To hear these people talk about how "churches" are taking over this "holiday" really disturbed me. Of course most do not use the name "Halloween" in their titles. Most use "Harvest Party", "Fall Festival" or the popular "Trunk Or Treat", all of which still are just celebrating Halloween. The same things take place, the same exchanges take place, ask any kid what they are doing and they know, but the parents seem to just want to call it an "alternative" to Halloween, when it is actually becoming the popular and preferred mode of celebrating Halloween..... at a church.

Is this really what Christ died for? Are churches really supposed to be conforming to the world like this? Actually becoming the world, sprucing up the title and "Christianizing" a pagan holiday? I think not. I think the church is supposed to be doing the opposite and being a beacon of light to this dark world. How can the light shine if it is dressed up like the world? That brings a mental picture of Luke 11:33-36 “No one, when he has lit a lamp, puts it in a secret place or under a basket, but on a lampstand, that those who come in may see the light. The lamp of the body is the eye. Therefore, when your eye is good, your whole body also is full of light. But when your eye is bad, your body also is full of darkness. Therefore take heed that the light which is in you is not darkness. 36 If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, the whole body will be full of light, as when the bright shining of a lamp gives you light.” Instead the churches seem to really enjoy delving into this dark holiday.

I will stop right there, so I do not start getting personal. I want this to stay focused on churches that are to be shining the Light of Christ to this world, not gleefully embracing darkness. Of course it is individuals that make up the body/ congregation. At best this practice is pragmatic, but extremely dangerous to those that participate and shows a mixed message to the kids that they are trying to protect and offer an "safe" alternative to trick or treating. I would say that their spiritual well being would be more important than a sack full of candy. Use this day (October 31) to teach of Martin Luther's nailing of the 95 Thesis to the church door. After all, "Reformation Day" seems to be the best "alternative" to Halloween..... Just sayin'

1 comment:

Jeff said...

Since posting this I have realized that most of what I "feel" about the negative implications of Christmas are actually not about Christmas itself, but about what others "do" with Christmas. Just because others may do things they shouldn't does not mean that it is wrong for me to participate. If one person is worshiping the holiday instead of Christ, then that is their sin but not a reason for me to not celebrate Christ a Christmas.

Just as it is with anything, we as humans take things and turn them into things they are not, for our own selfish gains. Christmas has, indeed, become a very self centered, commercialize mess in today's society. But does that mean that it has to me, my family or others that glory in the birth of the Savior? Does the fact that the American "church" has changed the gospel to fit that same self centered mindset mean that I should not attend services at a true bible believing and preaching church? Should I stop reading my bible because there are heretical translations out there now? Not at all.

But - I still think that this has been a wake-up call to me to always keep Christ as the focus of everything. Instead of getting wrapped up (no pun intended) in gift giving or receiving in and of itself, glory in Christ and give gifts that point to Him and that will bring those receiving the gifts closer to Him. As long as we stay focused on Christ in every facet of our life, then we will be fine. Start to focus on things other than Him and we are in sin. We can't make idols of the aspects of the Christmas Season, but instead make sure that they are done to glorify Christ whether that is in decorations or gift giving - do it all to the glory of God! 1 Cor. 10:31.