Swimming Upstream

Christian Pumpkin carving templatesby Nancy Tichy, Author for KidZ at Heart International

It’s just around the corner.  Halloween, that is.  I must admit it’s my least favorite holiday of all, in spite of cute-costumed kids.

It reminds me that we often fail to recognize that this is one more way we take lightly something that is very serious.  It’s a way that we go with the flow of secular culture rather than take action to express God’s Kingdom values. There’s still time, however, to redeem the day and start ‘swimming upstream.’

May I challenge you and your kids to check out Halloween’s history?  Talk about this and then create ways to make a difference – to use this observance as a springboard for outreach near and far. I’m sure that, together, you can think up lots of ways to strengthen your ‘swimming’ muscles.

Take, for instance, the costumes.  Rather than frightening figures or Disney characters, consider dressing up like prominent Bible figures or well-known Christian heroes?   Here’s another scary idea.  How about designing a strategy that makes clear your Christian testimony?    Carving a Christian symbol on a pumpkin – a dove or a cross, even – makes a better statement than a leering grin, right?

Here’s another idea if your kids still go ‘trick or treating.’  Take two hollow, plastic pumpkins.  Fill one with individually wrapped candies and place a supply of Halloween tracts in the other.  (Buy these, or make your own!) When someone opens the door, yell in unison, “Treats, not tricks!”  And then you hand out candy from one pumpkin and offer tracts from the other.  Who knows, God might even give you the opportunity to share a brief testimony, or offer to pray for someone in the house.

Do you have a special interest in a child overseas?  Perhaps your family contributes to a charity that blesses children in your neighborhood or city. Think homeless center or hospital – you’ll find kids in both places.  Forego buying elaborate costumes, investing in Halloween decorations or indulging in expensive treats.  Figure out an approximate amount for what you might have spent on these things and send this, in Jesus’ name, to your worthy cause.

Do you have a large backyard or spacious family room?  Invite neighbors over for inexpensive treats and view a Christian film together.  A personal favorite of mine is C.S. Lewis’s Voyage of the Dawn Treader.  Lots of suspense and adventure here and opportunity for spirited talk afterwards.  Or you could host your Sunday School class or youth group and plan games and group talk around Bible characters who were tricked. (Eve, Esau, Joseph, Pharaoh’s daughter, Haaman, Herod to name a few.)

As you pray and plan this year, invite your kids to join you.  They may be more likely to make a difference in their world when you take the lead, venture outside your family’s comfort zone and find God using you for His eternal purposes.

Feel free to share your ideas or report on ways you’ve found to encourage your kids to ‘swim upstream,’ to take the initiative, to make a difference.  Your comments are always welcome.

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