My drive into work is usually a pleasant one. Long, winding country roads speckled with sunlight shining through the tree branches lead me into town.
But every year, around this time, the pleasantness is replaced by something that saddens my heart.
Plastic skeletons and tombstones line the yards while giant, illuminated and inflated ghosts and goblins bend in the wind.
For many people, this is a fun time of year and they throw themselves into decorating for the Halloween season – but I just can’t go along with it.
I’m glad I’m limited to grocery shopping at 6:00 am on Tuesday mornings (that’s when my local store opens early for seniors and/or immune-compromised people – but I’m not claiming the former – just the latter) because I don’t like having to walk through a gauntlet of automated witches and grim reapers to buy my milk and bread. At 6:00 am, the displays haven’t woken up yet.
This is totally a personal peeve. It’s my own opinion. But you know me, the thoughts in my head usually end up on paper (or screen).
I participated in Halloween as a kid and my kids participated in Trick-or-treating when they were younger. We steered clear of the scary and grotesque decorations and costumes and focused more on just the fun of dressing up (what kid doesn’t love that?) and getting candy from the neighbors (what parent doesn’t love that?).
As I’ve gotten older and had more experiences, the season just seems sad to me. Maybe it’s because I have lost loved ones and had to face serious health issues and think about my own funeral. I’ve been in the darkness of hospital rooms and stood in cemeteries. I’ve grieved and cried and mourned.
I don’t want to think about death. Or darkness. Or tombstones. Or blood. Or guts. Or evil. Or anything like that. I certainly will not celebrate it.
Phillipians 4:8 in the Bible tells us:
Finally brothers, whatever is true,
whatever is noble,
whatever is right,
whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely,
whatever is admirable
– if anything is excellent or praise worthy
– think about such things.
Why think of only good things? Because our thoughts feed our feelings and our feelings feed our actions.
If we live on Earth, we will experience sad things. We will lose loved ones. We will see things we can’t un-see. We will have to experience illness and we will eventually die. Those are facts of life.
But, as for me, I will not welcome them. I will not focus on them. I will not decorate my house with them. I will not celebrate them.
When I’m gut-punched by life what is my reaction?
What has my focus been on? Darkness? Pain? Evil? Oh, that makes the enemy (the Prince of Darkness) pretty happy. He wants to keep us wallowing in his mire so we are completely distracted by what’s around us and we won’t look up.
Or, has my focus been on Jesus? On light? On what is right and pure? Am I standing on Earth but looking heaven-ward?
If my focus is on Jesus, He will lift me up and hold me. I can have peace instead of despair. I can experience joy in the midst of grief. I can fear no evil because my Lord has overcome it.
Thanks for listening to my peevy rant. Has it caused you to think about your focus during this time of the year? I won’t judge you if it hasn’t but just know that I most likely won’t be coming to your house for candy.