As I drew closer to Jesus, I started to feel very convicted about the way I was living my life. I was really living to please myself, in what felt good and what seemed right in every moment. I really believed I was a good person before though. That I was trying to do good and teach my children to do good and be good people. I believed in karma; what goes around comes around. So I never wanted to have bad karma come back on me for what I had done. Of course, when you live by your emotions as I was, it was often hard not to get swept away in a fit of rage or sorrow. So it was not always easy to do right by others when you live in that kind of world.
So as a new Christian I began to really look at my life in a new light. God was shining His light into the dark corners of it and showing me just how dark it really was. TV for starters. As a child I spent endless hours in front of the TV. It was my friend. I had nothing else. Naturally as an adult I continued my love for TV and I had several favorite shows that I watched religiously every week. Well I should say we, because I always watched the shows with my husband. We loved vampire shows, zombie shows, shows filled with sex, drugs, violence – you name it, it did not bother us. We had an affinity for the darkness and reveled in it.
Soon it became increasing difficult to watch these shows and movies. I started to feel guilty and wrong while watching them. It conflicted with everything I was learning as I read the Bible. The Bible upholds truths of love and moral standards that hold human life as important. To be honest I never saw much value in human life before. I loved living in the fantasy world TV brought me.
I also loved reality TV. Shows about polygamy, people with weird obsessions, housewives screaming at each other. The more drama the better! Slowly, one by one, I started taking my shows off of the DVR. It was quite difficult to do, as I loved these shows. But how could I stand by and watch a show about polygamy when God clearly tells us that marriage is between one man and one woman? It felt wrong. And all the sex, cussing, and taking the Lord’s name in vain. It started to just disturb me. So by the end of that year we actually got rid of TV altogether.
It wasn’t just TV though. It was music too. I was listening to music that was about the same types of things – sex, drugs, violence, demeaning women, depression. It never really bothered me before, but now when I listened to mainstream music I started to hear it in a whole new way. So I switched over to Christian stations. I was pleasantly surprised to hear all of the Christian rock and pop music there was! Music has always been a huge part of my life, so to find music that was positive and praising God was wonderful to me. Life changing really.
It wasn’t just music either. It was celebrating the holidays too. Before we were huge fans of Halloween. We went all out decorating with skulls and severed heads and spider webs and tomb stones and bats and whatever other gruesome delights we could find. We loved just going into the Halloween super store and seeing all the decorations and costumes. We dreamed of doing a haunted house some year and I often threw Halloween parties. This year it was different though. Halloween just didn’t feel right to me.
In the past Halloween was a very special day to me. And as a pagan, Halloween was also a holy day for witches. It is called Samhain and it is a day to celebrate death and commune with the dead. It was a wonderful and magic filled night that all witches look forward to every year. But as a Christian I knew the Bible says not to participate in pagan ways or have anything to do with witch craft. So how could I celebrate Halloween now, knowing the truth about it? And I really felt God did not want me to participate in such a thing, and I wanted more than anything to respect and love Him through my life.
I figured we could forego trick or treating and dressing up on Halloween, but instead do pumpkin patches and harvest festivals. I took my two youngest sons to the thrift store and let them pick out some costumes they could use for every day play. I talked to them about Halloween and why we were not going to celebrate it. I explained to them it wasn’t honoring God and that I wanted to put Him first in our lives. It was a little hard for them, but at 4 & 6 they seem to do really well with it. As I kept planning to make a trip to the pumpkin patch and hit up 1 or 2 of the local harvest festivals, my plans kept falling through. Before I knew it, it as almost Halloween and we hadn’t done a thing. That is when I knew God was completely closing the door on Halloween for our family that year.
And I was OK with that. I didn’t mind not celebrating Halloween. Yet it was one of the hardest October I can remember. I assumed that Christians did not really celebrate Halloween, just as I was convicted not to. Yet most people at my church and in the various Christian mom and home school groups I was in were going to celebrate it. And I got some very harsh comments and judgements about the fact that I was not going to celebrate it. That really confused me.
On Halloween night my family and I rented a movie and I made a treat to eat. We turned off the porch light and just spent the evening together. It was a nice and relaxing evening. Halloween had actually been pretty stressful every other year, because it was always a rush to get dinner and get the kids out and trick or treating and home in time for bed. Then the drama all night because they were tired, and the sugar highs and the days after where candy was a huge problem. As I write this post, we just passed our second year not celebrating Halloween. I actually don’t miss it at all. It was harder to give up my TV shows, then it was to give up Halloween.
Giving up things of the world can be hard. There are so many things that we cling to so tightly. Things that are comforting, nostalgic, relaxing. But those are not what defines who we are, and we cannot get caught in a trap that tells us this is so. I have found great joy in leaving behind many of the things I clung to in the past. But truly God has made me a new creation.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:17