… a day late, because of a bad internet connection on the 31st.
We never did Halloween. As kids we were allowed candy as a special treat whenever we went to Grandma’s or did especially well in school, and the thought of gorging ourselves on one night was never appealing to our parents or us. In fact, we had stores of candy to give out one year, and the caramel apple lollies from the stash made me so sick I threw up. And I only had one. : P
As for costumes, I’ve always dressed up. I wore special nightgowns to watch Anastasia or Shirley Temple movies. I had fairy tale costume parties and a Lord of the Rings themed birthday. My clone and I made/make videos together that required a lot of different character representations where we got to play with makeup and costume design. I still name my clothing ensembles after characters. So making a big to-do about one night was not impressive. Plus, our neighborhood isn’t the greatest, so going door-to-door for any purpose seemed the opposite of wise.
We used to have a tradition of shutting off all the lights, crowding into the family room, and eating Taco Bell while watching classics like Ben Hur and Quo Vadis. Now, some of us work. Others have soccer games. We aren’t always assembled during the trick-or-treater hours, but we still steer clear of the crazy fest as best we can, and it’s very nice.
By the by, I did put in a red hair ribbon and took a little extra care with my makeup today so that if people at work got the impression that I was being Snow White, that was okay. : P But guests have been saying that I look “exactly like Snow White” throughout the week, regardless of the intention, so I was just being a little more obvious today. : )
Point is, I never felt like we missed out by not “celebrating” Halloween. Seems like an oxymoron, anyway. To celebrate death, and ghouls, and blood, and witchcraft, and scaring people, while going by the name of Christian. Don’t we celebrate the opposite of all that? Christ’s conquering of sin, and death, and destruction, and false gods, and unholiness?
Anyway, the modern adaptation of Halloween, or All Hallow’s Eve, traditionally has roots in Celtic paganism as well as Catholic superstitions, and it’s impossible to find a “history of Halloween” that doesn’t involve either some form of superstition or a total submersion into extreme materialism and secular frivolities. The video montage of kids’ reaction to their parents eating their Halloween candy made me sick. People find this funny? Selfishness, covetousness, bratty behavior, lashing out, and lying to your children to provoke them? How is this funny?? Yes, I finally watched to the end, and there are a few gems to be had. But overall, this is obviously not a good thing. In an effort to bring Christianity back into focus on such a widely observed holiday, many of us celebrate Reformation Day instead.
496 years ago, on this day, October 31, in the year of our Lord, 1517, The Doctor Martin Luther nailed his ninety-five theses or “The disputation of the power and efficacy of indulgences” to the door of the castle church of Wittenburg in the intention of starting a debate on the subject of indulgences and the power of the church. Little did he know that these ninety-five theses would end up in the hands of a printer to be spread through the country of Germany like wildfire. This questioning of papal authority would spark further study, and contemplation on the power of the will, and divine grace which eventually began the protestant reformation.
(Copied from my brother’s Facebook. He’s the theologian/historian apprentice of the family.)
The Reformation parties I’ve been to were great. There was always a lot of food, sometimes candy, sometimes doughnuts, obtained by asking, not by trick-or-treating, and the kids dressed up, and there was fellowship, and singing, and I remember a hayride one year that was fantastic.
And although the games and goings-on usually had some kind of historical Reformation theme (like pin the thesis on the door, rescue the escaping nuns maze, or pop the indulgences) we tend to forget what reformation is really about. Reforming our hearts and lives to be more sound in doctrine, and Christlike in deed. And I hope that whatever your traditions for the 31st are, those are your main priorities. I know that personally, I fall short so often of conforming to Christ. I always tell myself, “It’s enough that I participated in family devotions, and I don’t need to study on my own. I worked today, so it’s fine if I don’t clean up the kitchen. I was selfless when I gave this or that, and I deserve to spend more than I should on a luxury.” What I should be saying is, “After all that, I am still an unprofitable servant: I have only done that which was my duty to do.” (Luke 17:10)
This may seem a far-fetched segue, but since a couple Sundays ago when I was thinking about Halloween, and what my ideal “non-Halloween” traditions would be, (I have a whole event planned out) I decided to make a lot more resolutions for 2014 and start them early. I bought a white erase calendar and made a daily checklist for that very purpose. I’m really eager to “reform” my life, as it were, and the greatest obstacle I have is my own unwillingness to do anything useful or productive before hours are wasted on fruitless YouTube meanderings, or playlist sorting, or note organisation… Redeeming the time will always be a lifelong struggle. It’s easy to marathon Psych, but hard to play a sermon or two on a church website? I can get excited over a new Kdrama, but not helping Mum with a project? I need to sort out my priorities.
But onward, and forward, looking to the author and finisher of our faith to perfect that which Christ began in me.
First, let’s see if I accomplished my goals for last year.
1. Find the good in everything.
2. Learn to say no.
3. Finish a fan fiction.
#1. I can’t say I did this every second of every day, and I had a lot of ups and downs at work that shook my resolve, but overall, I think it’s safe to say that I didn’t fail this resolution. I should probably stick to humanly attainable goals… but where would be the fun in that??
#2. Considering I meant this mostly for work, yes, I accomplished this. I even demoted myself by stepping down from management to be in a better place for myself and coworkers.
#3. This one I’m just plain tickled about! A few months into the year, I’d almost entirely forgotten I’d made this resolution, and yet I finished three fan fictions, one of which I edited and published on Amazon! What?!
Now, I have so many goals for the coming year, I had to separate them by daily, weekly, and a few for the entire year.
My Daily Goals:
Pray before sleeping, rising, eating, or undertaking any task
Read and study one chapter of God’s Word
Read one chapter/section/100 pages of history or a devotional for every fictional one
Write 300 words a day — I have a writing schedule to help with this
Give more time, funds, and energy to others, even when difficult
Find something to praise God for in the lowest part of my day
Listen without distraction even when it may seem insignificant or hard to hear
Tidy a section of my room
Limit purchases to only things that further the household, education, or usefulness, unless I have extra funds, or its a gift
Write two journal entries (in my hand-written, physical journal)
Deep clean the bathroom
Clean or fix something in the front yard
Read out loud to the minions
Make one dinner and one dessert (as of now it’s Sundays)
Memorise one verse and reference of scripture
Finish two lessons in Korean; one writing, one in Rosetta Stone
For the Year:
Own or co-own a car
Finish two original stories
Finish a 50 episode Korean drama – Yes, this is me being honest. I do want to do this. But only if I accomplish all the more important things!
Learn the Hangul alphabet (basically be able to read Korean/Hangul)
So far, I have been successful in all daily goals (have yet to be done with a whole week) except anything to do with cleaning my room. I organised my writing desk again, and it’s great, but there are so many things that need attention other than my room, and I feel like… can’t I just sort all the buckets of clean laundry when I finally want my clothes? Yeah. That’s the laziness talking. I know.
But I will fight the laziness! Because I’m serious about this!! Seriously.
On a side note, I feel like it shouldn’t take me the whole week to learn three verses of a Psalm. But it has. Well… a week less a day. But STILL!