Yesterday, I alluded to a holiday I invented: FALL EXTRAVAGANZA!
Fall Extravaganza began the year Rene and I started dating, so this year was our 3rd annual celebration.
Fall extravaganza can happen on any weekend between October – Thanksgiving. The goal of Fall Extravaganza is to do as many festive and fall things in one weekend as are humanly possible! Each year can look very different (which I think is makes it a lot of fun!). We have gone to a corn maze, visited a pumpkin patch, eaten lots of fall treats, and played games with friends.
I made Creamy Pumpkin Pasta from Mom Advice – A few notes: I used the smallest amount of pumpkin that they recommended. This gave the pasta a slight pumpkin flavor without being overwhelming and strange for a main dish. I also used Italian seasoned sausage.
Hot Spiced Apple Cider from the Complete Guide to Imperfect Homemaking which had an unexpected ingredient, oranges! I loved this twist on a classic recipe and it was a crockpot recipe… major bonus points!
I also made Pumpkin Pie for dessert (I wish I had some secret ingredient to make me rich or at least write a blog post about but I don’t…=) I use the recipe on the back of the Libby Pumpkin Puree can – its so good!)
Ok…if you’re not drooling over our yummy dinner, you may be wondering “Do you carve pumpkins?” Yesterday you gave us a very passionate post about Why I don’t Celebrate Halloween….how can you carve a pumpkin?
Carved pumpkins aren’t scary (unless you carve a scary design or accidently let it decay on your front porch) – which can happen quickly in the humidity of Texas. Today I carried our decaying pumpkin to the trash less than a week after getting it…gross!!!
It is also why I don’t fundamentally have a problem with other traditions associated with Halloween, such as dressing in a costume, as long it isn’t scary or inappropriate or handing out candy to kids.
My main point yesterday was that Halloween in our American culture has become for many people (not everyone) a time where they display in yards, stores, schools and communities bloody decorations and people watch movies/tv that are grotesque in nature which fosters an environment ripe for fear – especially in those Jesus calls us to protect – children.
I have chosen to never promote or share anything with children or people that could welcome fear and evil into their life.
The blog post yesterday received 400% more traffic than I usually get. I think this shows that many believers (like me) are really wrestling through how to approach this holiday which is completely pagan in its roots, but that is widely celebrated in our country.
My biggest encouragement to every believer is to pray and ask the Holy Spirit what He is saying for your family to do every year.
We are in a battle: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12)
But we also don’t have to be in fear of the evil that permeates our world: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power and of love and of sound mind!” (2 Timothy 1:7)
“You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. “ (1 John 4:4)
Jesus also said: “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” (Matthew 10:16)
This is definitely a time of year when I am asking Him to help me know how to practically live out those verses, in my home, in my community and with the people in my neighborhood.
This year He said to open the doors of our house and to embrace the opportunity to connect with our neighbors and people in our city I may never otherwise have a chance to meet. At this point we don’t have any children living in our home and so I don’t have to worry about exposing my children to costumes that come to the door that are vulgar or sexually provocative. God may tell us to do something different when we do have children in our house.
But for this year, our porch light will be on and we will be passing out highly desirable sugary treats along with tracts that are specifically designed for Halloween time. We found these tracts at Mardel (our Christian bookstore) and I really like them because they are specifically made for children and address fear and how Christ saves us from fear.
I am praying:
– For opportunities and boldness to share about Jesus.
– That every person would feel the tangible presence and love of Jesus from the second they step into our yard.
– Protection over our home: “Jesus, you are the only one who has power and authority over our house and property, because we are the owners of this property and Rene and I have submitted our lives to You. In the name of Jesus I command anything that has or will come to our property or home that doesn’t bow to the name of Jesus, to go to the foot of the cross and not return.”
I thought this article, a reader shared with me, 5 Practical Ways to be Missional on Halloween by Brian Mc Cormack gave some great ideas on how to love others on Halloween.
I also loved the ideas our readers shared. This was one of my favorite ideas from a reader yesterday, “I wanted to share something that my good friends do – to redeem the night so to speak. They do take their kids trick-or-treating in their neighborhood but they also set up a “refueling station” for their neighbors. It is one night when the community is out and it is easy to connect with those who live on the same street. In their drive way they have coffee/cocoa, a fire pit, and fellowship plus they usually set out a bin for donations to bless homeless families.”
I love the great conversation and ideas that so many have shared about how to love Jesus and others well during Halloween! I would love to hear more thoughts and ideas from anyone else!!!!