Tag Archives: holiday

No Turkey for the Atheist

**This is a re-post, updated. I welcome your thoughts and comments and wish all of you a fun-filled, Christ-centered Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving. A day of giving thanks.

The definition is implied in the name.

But why do we say thank you?

Because something nice has been done for us. Because someone has given us something. Because we are responding to a kindness or blessing that has been bestowed upon us.

In so doing, we are implying that there is someone to respond to.

In the tradition of the first Thanksgiving, the Pilgrims, with help from the Indians (ahem, Native Americans) were able to give thanks to God for his many blessings. For helping them survive. For providing food. For bringing them to the New World where they could practice their faith without persecution.

So today, why do we celebrate Thanksgiving? Some will say it’s just another holiday involving family, food, and football.

But the implication is there– we are thankful.

I can’t imagine what it must be like to sit down around a Thanksgiving meal and eat without thanking the Lord. How awkward. How strange. How sad.

So, for those who don’t believe in God–why are they celebrating Thanksgiving? Who are they thanking? In the spirit of being thankful, what are they thankful for? If God didn’t bless them, then are they eating turkey and green bean casserole in honor of their bosses? Their friends? The bank? The economy? The government? Their own accomplishments?

What exactly are they thankful for? Stuff, surely. But what about the “stuff” that can’t be given by man? What about the breath in our lungs, the ability to wake each day, the family that surrounds us– our very existence?

It just doesn’t make much sense to me not to recognize the higher power in that.

We celebrate Thanksgiving because we are thankful for the many blessings given to us by the only one with the ability to bestow them. Whether you refer to him as God or just Divine Providence, the fact that you celebrate Thanksgiving at all implies that there is one to whom we owe a debt of gratitude.

If they are true to their belief, all atheists should be alone on Thursday, eating cold spaghetti. After all, Thanksgiving is a day of remembrance of tradition–a tradition born out of the idea of thanking God.

Thanksgiving is about much more than being thankful for “stuff.”

I have an idea–invite an atheist friend to your table and thank God for his or her presence and the opportunity to celebrate this holiday while sharing the truth and example of Christ.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Share with me: If you could only choose one thing to be thankful for this year, what would it be?


Filed under The Christian Walk

The Hallow of Halloween– Should Christians Be Involved?

Of all the holidays, Halloween definitely provides the most instigation for controversy among the Christian community. 

In some circles, it’s the “no-no” holiday.

Should it be celebrated by Christians?
Should Christians hand out candy?
Should churches condone the idea of children dressing in costume?
Are Christians going to hell for celebrating on “the devil’s day”?

My sons both go to church-affiliated Christian schools. My oldest son is in an elementary school, my youngest in a pre-school.

My youngest son had a class Halloween party complete with treats and all of the kids in their costumes. My oldest son’s class did nothing–the school does not acknowledge the holiday.

Very different views from the same community of believers.

I want to make it very clear that I am deeply rooted in the “It’s Okay for Christians to Celebrate Halloween” camp. But with the emphasis on the fun of it–the happy character costumes, the fun of going door-to-door to get candy, and the excitement a kid has at this time of year.

Halloween is not evil unless you choose for it to be so.

When speaking to Believers who do not celebrate Halloween, the number one reason given is: “Christian’s shouldn’t celebrate Halloween because it’s pagan.”

Not really. As a historian and born again believer, I’m ready to de-bunk the myths of the “pagan” Americanized Halloween.

Many of the American Halloween traditions are relatively new. In the grand scheme of history, dressing in costume and going door-to-door asking for candy have only become popular in the last century.

Before that, Halloween was an unorganized compilation of various religious beliefs and traditions from many European cultures. 

And many of these religious beliefs and traditions were started by the Church. (Big “C” church refers to the Roman Catholic Church–the earliest form of organized Christianity.)

Back in the day, the Celtic people of Europe (the UK and northern France) had beliefs tied to this time of year. They celebrated a holiday called Samhain (sow-in) that recognized the changes in the seasons–from light to dark, warm to cold, and from life to death. October 31 began the new year, and they believed that at Samhain, the land of the living and the land of the dead could overlap.

From these ancient traditions, the Catholic church attempted to reach converts. To take the emphasis off of the paganism of Samhain, the Catholic church made November 1 All Saints Day, or the day to remember and honor the saints. They then added November 2 as All Souls Day, or the day to remember and honor all of the dead who had gone on before.

These two “holy days” fell into the Catholic church’s method of conversion for pagans in the early church days--Keep doing what you’re doing, just do it in the name of Jesus. Remember that in those days, it wasn’t about converting hearts as much as it was about numbers.  So the idea of the living and dead overlapping fell under these days–Church sanctioned days of commemoration for the dead.

The night before All Saints Day became known as All Hallow’s Eve, and then was shortened to Hallowe’en.

One of the traditions during All Souls Day was for children or youngsters to go house to house asking for small cakes. In return, they would offer prayers for the family members who had died. Some believe that our tradition of trick-or-treating might have come from this early practice.

The idea of wearing costumes has no real “pagan” tie. In general, it can be traced back to the idea that many who instigated “trickery” or pranks during this time of year really wanted to mask their identities.

In the early 20th century, communities looked for a way to stop the pranks and keep kids safe on Halloween. They decided to organize community wide parties and parades for kids to show off their costumes, and later on the idea of subduing “tricksters” by offering them sweets turned into modern day trick-or-treating.

The Jack-O-lantern might be the most “evil” of all Halloween traditions. According to old Irish folklore, a man named Jack O’Lantern was so bad that he was kicked out of hell with only a burning ember to light his way. He wanders the earth at night with his ember in a hollowed out turnip. When the legend came to America, children began hollowing out pumpkins to create their own “Jack O’Lanterns.”

Many of the traditions of Halloween can become about evil and death–but only if you let them.

We know what the Bible says about evil. We know what it says about what happens to a soul at death & where it goes. There’s no need to argue whether or not some people emphasize the negatives of the holiday–they do. It’s the non-Christians who’ve darkened the holiday; for well over a thousand years, Christendom has attempted to refocus it.

And if one still wants to cling to the pagan argument, then we must also point out all of the pagan influences in other parts of Christianity. Celebrating Christmas on December 25th, for example. That was not Jesus’ actual birthday. No, no. It was a Roman pagan holiday that the Church usurped, once again taking emphasis off the pagan rituals and putting them on Christianity.

So unless you are out reenacting a Samhain ritual, the paganism of Halloween is all but lost.

If you and your family choose not to celebrate Halloween, there is nothing wrong with that. I respect your decision completely.

Evil has no power over us when we are indwelled with the Holy Spirit. We have no reason to fear the “evil” of Halloween if we take the power away from the “evil one” and place our focus on Christ, as we should do daily, not just one day a year.

We can make Halloween fun, non-pagan, and completely in line with what the Bible teaches. We can allow our kids to dress up as happy characters–story book characters, superheroes, etc, and take them door-to-door and allow them the joy of racking up on a potential sugar-buzz.

Everyday is hallowed when we walk in the light of the Lord. Nothing can change that. Glorify the Lord in all you do, even on Halloween.

For more info, check out this video from The History Channel.

Share with me: What do you think about Halloween? Is okay for Christians to celebrate it? Why or why not?


Filed under The Christian Walk

10 Things I’ll Never Live Down – Number One


Number One-

Our first Christmas as a married couple.  My husband lovingly wrapped my Christmas gift and put it under the tree.

I hate spoiling a surprise– like, really hate it, but my curiosity got the best of me and I picked up the gift to give it a shake.

It was flat and thin, and the only thing I could come up with was that my husband had gotten me a calendar for our first Christmas.  And I wasn’t sure what to think about that.  I mean, any time someone gives me a gift, I am very grateful, but I was hoping for something a little more personal than a calendar from my husband for our first Christmas.  And I really hoped it wasn’t a calendar.  I was beginning to go into a panicked “over-analyze” state of what it meant that he had gotten me a calendar.

Christmas Eve.  I was making lunch or something in the kitchen, and we were talking about the gifts we had gotten for each other- keeping everything a surprise until Christmas morning.

My husband says, “I tried to be really thoughtful.”

Hmmmm….I’m thinking.  Thin, flat…suddenly my brain flashes to commercials I had been hearing on the radio for weeks.

“I really hope you didn’t get me something goofy, like buy me a star.”

I was jesting.  All in good fun.  Because there was No.Possible.Way. that my hubby had registered a star in my name.  No.Way.

But I watched as his face fell.  And my heart broke.  Not only had I ruined the surprise, I felt like a two-cent piece with a hole in it (as my mom says).

So my hubs goes over to the tree, gets the package and hands it to me.  “Go ahead and open it,” he says, sadly.  So I did.  And it was a star registry.

Never in my life have I wanted so badly to laugh and cry in the same moment.  I felt like a jerk, but at the same time, I simply could not believe that he would spend money on something like that, although it very much did fit my idea of personal.  But for a hopeless romantic, I didn’t really buy into the whole star registry thing. We didn’t even own a telescope!

I thanked him and did my very, very best to make up for my gaff.  And I’m still trying.  And I still feel like a jerk when I think about it.  And we still don’t own a telescope.

Every single holiday or gift giving occasion since, my husband has handed me the gift with the following comment, “No, I did not get you something ‘goofy’ like a star.”  I can’t believe he still gets me gifts at all.  If I were him, I wouldn’t buy me anything.  From that first Christmas on, he’s given me some seriously amazing, thoughtful, helpful things.

I still have my star registry paperwork.  I still think he was being very thoughtful.  I still can’t believe he actually did that.  I’m so lucky to have him.

But I’ll never live it down.

Share with me: Have you ever ruined someone’s gift giving surprise?


Filed under Just For Fun