“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
Paul knew that what we think about affects how we act so he tells us what to fill our thoughts with. Here’s a way to help children visual this.
About 33 years ago I was busy making ghost costumes for my 3 young boys when Betty Rich called and asked what I was doing. I was embarrassed to tell her. She was such a Godly lady, I thought she would surely be disappointed in me for allowing my children to participate in the holiday. However, I still marvel at her wisdom in the comment she made that day, “Sheilah, don’t make your children so different from the world that the world doesn’t want what you have.” I have heeded that advice through the years and applied it in numerous situations, always trying to find things we could participate in with those that might not believe as we do, thus having an opportunity to interact with them.
We chose to enjoy Halloween without even talking about the dark beginnings of it. On other holidays I have encouraged you to teach the history of the traditions of the holidays. And if you would like to do that for Halloween, here is an informative link. A good book that explains in simple terms how Halloween started and how Christians now celebrate it is Halloween, Is it for Real? by Harold Myra.
If you want to try to give a positive meaning to some of the traditions, you can point out that the orange color is used to symbolize the vibrant colors of the harvested crops, while the black color stands for the death of summer. You can choose to use the pumpkin salvation story while you carve your pumpkin. But you can choose to just enjoy a fun harvest time of family, friends, neighbors, costumes, parties, and pumpkins.
We must stay aware that some of the things that go on at this time may go beyond fun and can cause fear in children. There are bad spirits in the world, but we don’t have to be afraid of them. The Bible says that at the name of Jesus they have to run away (Philip. 2:10 “so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,”) We can use the name ‘Lord Jesus Christ’.
God has given us good spirits called angels to watch over us (Psalm 91:11-12 “For he orders his angels to protect you wherever you go. They will hold you with their hands to keep you from striking your foot on a stone.”)
Please check out Ministry to Children for great insights and ideas to help use Halloween to emphasize trusting Jesus.
“You are the Lord, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships you. Nehemiah 9:6
I love all the seasons, but especially the warmer ones. I am looking forward to spending lots of time outside. As you experience the beauty of God’s creation during this season, please remember to share with your children that it IS God’s creation. Lead them to praise Him. Make up songs about it. Here’s one suggestion:
Hopefully you will get to take a family trip this summer, maybe to the beach to get sand between your toes. To The Sea by Callie Grant is a book about a day at the beach that young children will enjoy. The pictures by Jeremy Tugeau make you almost able to smell the sea air. (The author’s mission is to encourage and equip parents to effectively teach their kids about God and His creation, even at a very young age.) (Check out some of her other books on this site here.) In the book the sand castle is washed away by the sea, but the boy builds one on a rock and it stands safe. Play in the sand and tell this parable from Matthew 7:24-29.
Even if you can’t get away this summer, take advantage of every opportunity around you to enjoy God’s beautiful world with your children. Jesus used visuals from nature as he taught.
Read Matthew 6:25-33 and be ready to share His teachings the next time you are outside observing birds or looking at flowers.
Hike, explore, play in the sand. Start collecting things from nature – moss, feathers, shells, rocks, leaves, seeds, an abandoned bird’s nest or wasp nest. Make a nature box full of items you can enjoy all year. And don’t forget to point out that all God’s creation praise Him!
All your works praise you, LORD; your faithful people extol you. Psalm 145:10
Side Note: Deuteronomy 6:6-7 says to speak of God and His word as we go. Everything doesn’t have to be related to a Bible verse, but as you discover things on your nature walk you could say, “Think of the wonders of God”(Job 37:14) or “all God’s works praise Him” (Psalm 145:10)
“Your words were found and I ate them, And Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart; For I have been called by Your name, O LORD God of hosts.” Jeremiah 15:16 (NASB)
In Jeremiah 36, God told Jeremiah to write down His words on a scroll to encourage the people of Israel to repent and turn back to God. When the scroll was read to King Jehoiakim, he showed his rejection of God’s Word by cutting it up and throwing it into the fire. When I tell this story, I begin cutting a scroll up and putting it in a pretend fire of yellow, brown, and red construction paper. I tell the children it would be like our taking our Bible and cutting it up and burning it. They are all appalled at the very idea.