It’s my favorite time of year. Living in Florida for most of my 20’s, I actually found myself going into a sort of depression around this time of year when the weather never dipped below 80 degrees and the humidity lingered in the 90% range. I distinctly remember sweating while watching football on Thanksgiving day and thinking to myself, “I was not meant for this weather.” My husband feels much the same way. In fact, a week after we met, something clicked and we knew we were going to marry each other. There was an inexplicable pause, a moment of silence, and then his words, “…but I want to move back to Nashville”. To which I quickly replied, “Fine with me—I miss Fall!”
We must have collectively passed this love for the season on to our children because they feel the same way and are not afraid to show it.
I cannot tell you how many times in the past week my 8-year-old daughter has said, “July is my favorite month (because of her birthday), Christmas is my favorite holiday, but FALL (said in a slow, drawn-out, loving manner) is my FAVORITE season!”
Here in Nashville, we’ve just turned a corner in the weather. We’re putting sweaters on when we leave the house and building fires out back on the weekend. We’re taking walks around the block for no reason and opening the windows…because we can. The back to school season is behind us, the holiday season is in front of us, but for now, it’s just us. We’re looking up corn mazes, talking about costumes, and searching the web for recipes that will fill our house with the delightful smells of Fall (now that it’s not too blazing hot to turn the oven on for more than an hour!).
True, Halloween is now just a few weeks away.
But the debates we’ve always had as parents seem to have been resolved in our own children’s minds this year. Every year before now, we always struggled as Christians with whether or not to ‘celebrate’ Halloween with our kids. The very first year I think we dressed our baby girl in a pumpkin onesie and left it at that. The following year she earned a Cinderella costume for getting potty trained and it happened to fall on Halloween. Obviously, the subject of trick-or-treating wasn’t even an issue at this point. But as our kids got older and started going to school, the inevitable questions arose: “What are you going to be for Halloween?” “Where are you going trick-or-treating?,” and “Know any scary ghost stories?”
After going back and forth and spending way too much time debating the issue in my own mind, I finally heard an explanation from a Christian leader I respected that ended the internal struggle.
In essence, he said, “Halloween is a holiday with secular traditions, but then again, so is Christmas. The act of giving each other presents, visiting Santa, and caroling is not essential to our faith. While we don’t need to ‘celebrate’ Halloween, we can still enjoy the traditions that come with this time of year.” So as we were driving by a bunch of Halloween decorations on our way to school last week, my daughter voluntarily spoke up and said, “We may dress up in costumes, but we don’t celebrate Halloween…we just like to decorate and have fun for Fall.” Well said, little one.
Sometimes we overcomplicate the matters at hand.
Our pastor even said recently that as Christians, far too many people know what we’re against rather than what we’re for. We should concentrate more on loving others than we do on proving our point. If you’ve ever wondered how to share with your kids what our faith stands for or what Jesus calls us to, I suggest sharing the newest ‘youth’ versions of Jesus Calling with them. In response to the wildly popular Jesus Calling for Kids, this month Tommy Nelson is releasing Jesus Calling for Teens and the beautifully illustrated Jesus Calling Bible Storybook. We read Jesus Calling for Kids every morning on the way to school, but for those of you with smaller children or teens, these resources are going to make a valuable addition to your home library…especially when dealing with issues of life and faith like this.