Christians face a dilemma every year on October 31. What should we do and what shouldn't we do, and what should we let our kids do. I find this is a huge concern with North American Christians yet not blinked at by most Irish and British Christians. I thinks its all to do with an understanding of where the traditions come from.
When I moved to life in the USA for awhile I was initially quite shocked at how Halloween was interpreted and displayed there with the heavy emphasis on blood, ghouls, chopped up body parts, haunting gravestones and surprise bouncing objects that cackle and scream. Where on earth did this all come from? After awhile I learned to lighten up and accept all of this as being a theatre, a game and having no long term influence on our soul, our values and morality. Nobody really took Halloween seriously, here today and gone tomorrow.
Christians can embrace the ancient roots of Halloween
I find this is a wonderful time to take seriously and be rewarded with an inner light and peace that provides real lasting joy. To do this its worth going back to the roots of the Halloween traditions which are beautiful, harmless and really do celebrate the creation by god and, for Christians, the love of Christ. I word myself in that way because all people of loving faiths can open to a divine spirit of love that Christians call Christ. My own faith and belief is to embrace all spiritual alignments to love.
There are things that Christians can do at Halloween, that both embrace the ancient traditions of Samhain, largely originating from Ireland, and close connection to the Christian way and faith. First and foremost this should be a family time as strong, if not stronger than Thanksgiving and Christmas. Its also a wonderful time to connect to your neighbourhood.
It can be a time to exchange in the Christian way
What is now "trick or treat" could be a wonderful opportunity to share your spirit of Christ and love with your neighbours. Its about exchanging things. The old guisers used to sing songs, read poetry and do dances reflecting on observance of the wonders of God's changing seasons and in return receive gifts of food or anything of abundance within the homes they visit. Its not essential to keep these gifts either, but maybe also pass them on to those more needy.
There are wonderful things a family can do. North America is much more expanse than Ireland with lots of different seasonal and weather patterns north to south and east to west so in many places its hard to visualize the innocent loving time that Samhain becomes in Ireland where the season is the same all over. Misunderstanding creates gossip which creates exaggeration that often falls into goulish interpretation.
Its easy to protect against false prophets
Sometimes this is done to create personal power. Even ancient Irish druids were masters of that such as when the days grew longer through January the druids told people it was their personal magic at Yule that caused the sun to come back rather than share their knowledge and wisdom about the tilting earth. Caesar used to report to Rome about cruel live human animal sacrifice when the reality was that cremation of the dead was often delayed until a day of spiritual observance and on such days chosen animals were slaughtered for the feast, just like they are today for every meat eating meal. This may be forgotten when we buy pre-packed meat at supermarkets.
Examples, maybe what I'll be doing
This Samhain I will not be close to family, who are far way, but will share with a group of close friends. We will observe a reflection of those who have passed on but not in mourning. Instead we will observe their legacies, wisdom, and love that has been left for the living to share, just like Christ has done. We will have a meal with mulled wine and share stories and share love in prayer . By reflecting on our ancestors it will be as if they are there, not as ghosts, but as realities in our wisdom, values and love today.
By the fire we will duck for apples, a lovely re-enactment of the earliest of sailors who are said to have come to west of Ireland 1000s of years ago seeking for the sacred apple tree of life. We will carry the vision of Brighid, Mary Of The Gael as we eat our baked apples coated in cinnamon and brown sugar and as their warm fills us use this warmth for prayer for the healing of the living so that we may share in their love and wisdom while they are still here on earth.
A perfect time to surround with the love of Christ
These are some of the things that Christians and their children can embrace in as an opportunity to surround themselves with their love of Christ. While doing so they can harmlessly laugh at the images of the devil who could not possibly be around during what should be one of the most loving times of the year
So here's wishing all Christians a loving Samhain being guided by the "ancestry" of Christ still alive today and the ancestry of those who followed him who's wisdom still guards us, especially through the winter.
|This lovely book answers many questions Christians have about the origins and meaning of this holiday. It guides Christians through fun packed guilt-free ideas from costumes and decorating hints to party suggestions. Kim and Pam provide a wonderful guide that helps Christian parents balance love with conviction. Their ideas will create treasured childhood memories for your children rather than take this time from them.|
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maybe it seems late for this year
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