Convictions & Comforts · Uncategorized

Happy Reformation Resolution Day!

… a day late, because of a bad internet connection on the 31st.

Reformation

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.

They were:

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

Weekly:

Write two journal entries (in my hand-written, physical journal)

Vacuum room

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!

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3 thoughts on “Happy Reformation Resolution Day!

  1. Can I just say, that video was AWFUL? How could parents LIE to their kids like that??

    Funny, my family doesn’t celebrate Halloween and most people on my block don’t either. But this year I’m in college in the city, and I went outside Thursday evening to walk to school because I had class . . . and, oh goodness, the streets were filled with costumed people! It was bizarre to realize that I’d never actually experienced Halloween until this year!

    1. I know!! I just… I don’t understand how they think that’s funny. I’d be so mad! Not because of the candy being gone, but because of the lie!

      That would be weird! It’s funny, you don’t realise how BIG a holiday is until you’re out seeing all the revelers. We have a few houses on our street that does the skeleton, witch, spider webs…etc. thing, and it’s like… eeeeww… whyyy would you want to make your house look disgusting? Unfortunately, ours looks like we’re decorating for Halloween all year round because it’s falling apart and not painted. And the lawn is dead. :P But I’m trying to get our boys to do better at cleaning it up. :)

      1. Agreed! The lie is definitely more upsetting than the eating of the candy.

        Decorating for Halloween all year round? Ha!

        My friend told me that her family (who doesn’t celebrate Halloween) lives near Halloween-celebrators and has had their lawn/trees trashed with toilet paper. Um, hello! If you really must have your Halloween fun at someone else’s expense, at the very least it should be someone who actually celebrates the holiday! Makes me really glad that the street I grew up on wasn’t so into Halloween.

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