Thursday, December 13, 2012

Why We Celebrate Christmas but Not Halloween

Why yes, he is picking his nose in our Christmas Photo
If you haven't read it already, we don't celebrate Halloween. We thought long and hard about it and came to the conclusion that our convictions do not allow it. When we have that conversation with people who do celebrate/participate in it we often hear "well then, how can you celebrate Christmas when it also has pagan roots?". I think it is a good question, sort of misguided, but I do think that we need to search scripture and pray any time we participate in an activity not specifically "OKed" in the Bible.

Both have roots in Paganism, it's true. Halloween finds its origins in All Hallows Eve, a Catholic holiday which was set aside to honor the dead. A tradition called "souling" in which the rich would exchange bread with the poor in return for prayers for the dead is believe to be the beginnings of "trick or treat". Since I do not agree with Catholic doctrine, I cannot celebrate Halloween as a Christian holiday and feel that I should actively avoid based on this reason alone. However, there is more. Halloween has evolved and as different cultures, occults and religions added to it, it has not only become a day to celebrate false theology, but also to celebrate, death, destruction and evil. Today there is nothing left of Halloween that is redeemable. The holiday as a whole, is a pure representation of evil. I don't have a problem with dressing up. I do have a problem with glorifying death and destruction, the very things which Christ gave himself to triumph over. Since the holiday as a whole does this, we cannot participate in good conscience.

Christmas on the other hand has a different history. Most of the traditions are hard to trace back to their roots, and I am sure that some of them are actually born out of pagan rituals. However, the original holiday, Saturnalia, a week in which Roman law was closed and citizens could basically behave how they wished without fear of being prosecuted by the courts, was a pagan holiday influenced by Christianity rather than the other way around. Over the years Christmas has taken a distinctly different path than Halloween in that it has become increasingly more Christian (though it is in a decline right now) and Halloween has become increasingly more evil. I have given some links below that get more detailed in specific traditions associated with Christmas and how Christians have turned them into traditions that represent Christ rather than pagan rituals.

Since the Bible does not mention either holiday we have to comb scripture a little more to find our answers on whether or not we can exercise our Christian freedoms with these two holidays. Scripture tells us in Philipians 4:9 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Can I find pure and lovely things in Halloween? No, I can't. Can I find pure and lovely things worthy of praise in Christmas? Yes, I can.

There are certain aspects of Christmas that we don't bother with. My older two don't believe in Santa any more and we have made no secret to my younger that Santa isn't real, though he still struggles with it since he is only 4 and can't quite sort it all out. Basically we don't lie about it. When they ask we tell. I don't think Santa is evil or wrong necessarily, but I do think perpetually lying to my children is.

Of course, I don't answer for what your family celebrates and I believe it to be very important for each of us to search scriptures and spend time in prayer contemplating what the Lord would want us to do in these situations. I hope this sheds a bit of light on why I am ok with Christmas but not ok with Halloween.

Feel free to let me know your thoughts in the comment section. I do not censor unless it becomes vulgar or personal.

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Jessica said...

You already know my thoughts and feelings on Halloween and Christmas. :)
I am going to disagree that the way halloween is celebrated is all about death and demonic things. We dress up and go trick or treating and none of that is done to celebrate death.

I don't celebrate the pagan roots of Christmas or Easter :) I am glad the holidays have been commercialized and hope it stays that way. I don't look at them as religious holidays, pagan or Christian so I feel quite okay trick or treating, putting up a Christmas tree, and hiding Easter eggs :)

If nothing else, it is definitely a personal choice and people should go with their conscience here!

Rachel E. said...

You were bold to step forward with your beliefs on the two holidays.

We do not celebrate Halloween for the same reasons.

We also celebrate Christmas for the same reasons. We are learning to focus on Jesus as the sole reason for the season. We used to celebrate with Santa, and while it was fun, it was a lie. I didn't feel comfortable any longer. How can I teach my children that a white lie is still a lie, if I continue to lie? It was difficult to move to that. However, I do teach my children to respect other's beliefs. They are not to say anything to others regarding Santa.

It can be very difficult for families that used to celebrate with Santa. I know that from experience. However, we are learning to find more important things to focus on with Advent, the Jesse Tree, and focus on giving to others.

theYoungerMrsWarde said...

Thank you for this post.