28 October, 2008

lions and tigers and bears, Oh MY!

The Passover Celebration in a Jewish home begins when the youngest son asks his father, "Daddy, why is this night different from all other nights?" Then the father tells him of the mighty works of God surrounding the exodus of Israel from Egypt. But what would you say if your child were to ask you about Halloween, "Why is this night different from all other nights?"

Some people may wonder why children should be deprived of all the fun and excitement of a holiday that is a special time to them. The spirit world is a real world, though, and there are spirits of good and there are evil spirits. All Saints Day is real. On November 1st some people do honor and worship "Saints." All Hallow's Eve, October 31st, now called Halloween, originated in, and today derives its impetus, from the mystical, magical and superstitious — the evil.

It comes as quite a surprise to discover that this celebration predates the Christian Church by several centuries. It goes back to a practice of the ancient Druids in Britain, France, Germany and the Celtic countries who lived hundreds of years before Christ was born. This celebration honored their deity, Samhain, Lord of the Dead. Samhain called together all the wicked souls who had died within the year and had been condemned to inhabit the bodies of animals. The date for this celebration was the last day of October, the eve of the Celtic New Year. It was a time of falling leaves and seasonal decay and seemed appropriate to celebrate death. That is what it was, a celebration of death. It honored the god of the dead and the wicked spirits of the dead. The Druids believed that on this particular night, the souls of the dead returned to their former homes to be entertained by the living. If acceptable food and shelter were not provided, these evil spirits would cast spells, cause havoc and terror, haunt and torment the living. They demanded to be appeased, Look closely! Here is the beginning of "trick or treat!" If they didn't get it, you'd get a "trick".

Jack-O-Laterns are a symbol of godless superstition. A man named Jack was unable to enter heaven because of miserliness. He could not enter hell because he played practical jokes on Satan, so he had to walk the earth with his lantern until Judgment Day. The black cats of Halloween were thought to be human beings who were changed as a punishment of evil.

Scripture is clear in its direction to a Christian in dealing with the powers of darkness that perpetrate evil. Christ's terse statement to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan!" made no allowance for discussion. And as James stated, "Resist the devil and he will flee from you." Additional scriptures would only further emphasize how little time we should give to Satan. Yes, we are to be aware of the enemy. "We are not fighting against flesh or blood." We are to put on the whole armor of God for this spiritual warfare. (Ephesians 6)

There are alternatives to Halloween. Here at Calvary Chapel Corvallis we have chosen to substitute a "Harvest Carnival". You might ask "Why substitute anything?" We recognize that in an effort to guard their children from very real risks, many parents search for a safe alternative to traditional Halloween trick or treating. We have chosen to provide an alternative as a way of introducing non Christian or un-churched families to the good news of the gospel. We provide an environment in which each game or activity is based on a Bible story, where each child who comes gets to hear the gospel, and where people see the love of Jesus in action.

Rather than celebrating death, darkness and the demonic, come join us as we celebrate LIFE in Jesus Christ!

For more information on this local Corvallis, Oregon event head to The Harvest Carnival site.

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