Friday, October 24, 2014

Holidays

10-24-2014, Today is a beautiful fall day.
It's that time of year Halloween.  My kids LOVE the holiday, I didn't know that it could be celebrated and anxiously awaited for an entire month until this year with the kids, but apparently it can.  Two years ago, I saw a cute yard decoration, tomato cages upside down, wrapped with Christmas lights covered in a sheet!  So cute, so I made them, knowing the kids would be tickled with them.  In fact I decorated then, and again this year for fall.  I sprinkle fake leaves around on the dining room table on my gold table cloth.  I hung a wreath on my very red door that my cousin graciously made for me.  I even decorate the porch with pumpkins, gourds, and winter squash, and apparently this year with corn that Britt collected in a corn maze.
10-19-2014, Pumpkin Patch!
The kids are anxiously awaiting the night where they get to dress up in their costumes and go out trick or treating.  They will learn some important civics skills, that continually need to be reinforced, like saying "Thank you!" and navigating crowds without running rudely over people, and how to look people in the eye and speak with them.  They'll learn some safety skills, no running in the dark, no walking in roads, no going in houses, no eating candy till Momma and Daddy goes through it with you.  The will learn some health lessons, eating way too much candy will make you crazy and sick.  But most of all they will have alot of fun pretending and eating candy.
10-23-2014, Queen Elsa and Commander Britt
10-23-2014, Batgirl
I'll leave the fall decorations up till Thanksgiving, or until the pumpkins need to be chunked in the woods.  Then I'll pull out the Christmas decorations.  We'll go to a Christmas tree farm, and pick out a tree, since I've still not convinced Gary to let me go and buy a fake tree.  (I even told him we could have two, but he didn't want to buy that either.  That man would make Scrooge proud.)    We'll take whatever scrap limbs we can and I'll decorate the table, and maybe other places.  I'll pull out the garlands and wrap the banister and outside the front door.  I'll hang a wreath that Gary picked out (that is hideous, I'm so going to get my cousin to make a new one for me SOON!) and I'll hang some stockings.  We'll even have some elves show up again this year.
10-14-2012, Me and Ruth carving her very first pumpkin.
10-14-2012, The finished product a cat in a boot.

Over the cold and miserable month of December in Yankee land, the twinkling lights buoy my spirits.  It's a cold and gloomy time of month, and the soft lights just feel SO happy.  I love the smell of evergreens in the house, when everything outside appears dead.  I love the habit of baking and eating and sharing with friends and family (I should do more of that year round).  I love the diversion from our usual routine, as we try extra hard to make things special and memorable for each other.  I even enjoy picking out and giving special gifts, despite the fact that we are seriously reigning that in this year to work on gratitude and appreciation with the kids.
11-21-2011, One of my favorite Christmas
pictures ever, at my parents in Alabama.
Despite being adamant that we weren't doing Santa Claus, we had a BALL doing Christmas Elves last year.  My creative self, just loved coming up with fun games they could play and the kids loved the adventure of looking for them each morning.  Thinking outside the box and having fun together was great, and it had the added bonus that their behavior improved.
This might have been my favorite elf prank from last year.
Now, incase those descriptions weren't plan enough, we aren't devil worshipers.  I am a big believer in judging people by their actual motives and their own affirmed belief system.  We choose to observe Halloween, because it's a fun excuse to dress up (and if I could have convinced Gary to let me buy the Merida dress I saw online, I'd be dressing up too).  I mean they do it year round, it's just the one time of year that Momma will let them go out in public like that.  It's also a fabulous way to get chocolate.  It is vaguely interesting to me that long ago the Celt worshiped Sanheim with the practice of sacrifices and other evil practices.  Mostly in a detached anthropology-historical sort of way, but also in a that is so sad that they thought those were real Gods, and that would make anyone happy.  I love the way a carved pumpkin looks artistic and all lit up.  One of these days, maybe even this year, I'm going to make a really cool one from scratch.  I don't really believe in some guy named Jack who struck a deal with the devil who then roamed around after death as a lost soul because he was too rotten for heaven and hell didn't want him.  So he took an ember from hell and put it in his stolen half eaten turnip for light.  By that extension, I'm not claiming any religious significance for Halloween either.  I know some folks, pray for the dead, or remember the dead at this time of year.  We don't, in our paradigm, the Lord's people, all of the saints departed are in heaven, and everyone else isn't.  They don't need my prayers, they are on cloud nine so to speak.  We do Halloween because it's good, clean fun for the kids.
12-25-2013, The kids were overjoyed to have Daddy
all to themselves to play with Christmas morning.
Likewise when it comes to Christmas, we aren't worshiping Satan or a dead tree.  I know of course that Jesus wasn't born in the dead of winter, most likely he was born in the fall, perhaps even according to some friends during Succorat.  And I know the Catholics most likely picked that time to celebrate the birth of Christ because it coincided with various pagan rites at the winter solstice.  However, for whatever reason, that is the day that we chose to remember that Christ came to this earth and assumed a human body.  For that reason, I enjoy reading to the kids the account in Luke. I enjoy using a set of Advent ornaments I found to relate some of the stories of the Bible, even though we don't celebrate Advent as Primitive Baptist.
4-19-2014, Learning about colors and dye,
and having fun creating and mixing colors.
 And while we are at it, just to knock out all the big controversial holidays in one blog post.  We celebrate Easter, because on Sunday Christ rose from the grave.  At Old Carroll we even have Communion on Easter Sunday, a fitting practice, since Christ was our literal Passover, and Communion was what he established as one of two Church ordinances from the very Passover table.  While we remember His resurrection and thus his triumph over sin every single Sunday, this yearly remembrance is even more sombering when we dwell on what all he went through. Sure afterward we have an egg hunt.  Because it gives us an excuse to color (again the creative thing) and then eat hard boiled eggs, yummy.  And it gives the kids the fun of a game, no different than any scavenger hunt the rest of the year.
4-20-2014, Hours after church, an egg hunt with friends.
The truth is that it doesn't matter to me why others celebrate or observe certain days.  It certainly doesn't matter to me what people LONG dead once thought.  All that matters to me is that we do nothing immoral or dishonoring to God.  I believe there are evil spiritual thing out there, or the Lord wouldn't have told us not to mess with them, but I'm hardly engaging in such practices by going trick or treating.  We are told not to worship idols, but I hardly think having a piece of furniture, a decoration like a Christmas tree means I must worship it.  Sure I get down under it to straighten the skirt, lay out gifts, and fetch them out, but I also get on my knees to reach the cleaners under the sink and fetch toys out from under the bed.  And while the word Easter is a pagan word also it doesn't change what my Lord did that day.
4-20-2014,
Easter morning about to leave for Church.
Now, it doesn't bother me in the least if you don't wish to celebrate these days.  If the history bothers you that much, or if you feel that convinced, no one is forcing you too.  That's the beauty of America we still have that freedom.  It's also the beauty of our Christian liberty that on these non essentials we can follow our conscience.  I will never try to force my view on you, that you participate in something against your conscience, but I would ask that you try to understand that I'm not convicted that there is anything wrong with the customary fun around these holidays.

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