Yesterday, October 31st. was a joyful and festive day in our home with focuses on Christ, giving-rather-than-receiving, and purposeful family traditions.
We celebrated a holiday I had not even heard about until 3 years ago and yet now may become a favorite – and no, it was not Halloween.
The holiday is Reformation Day, and since it celebrates those in church history who have stood up for Biblical truth – even against impossible odds – it goes along with the exact things I’m trying to teach my kids!
What is Reformation Day?
October 31st 1517 Martin Luther mounted the stairs of St. Peter’s Basilica in Germany and nailed his history-changing, 95 thesis, to the door.
At that time, Johann, Tetzel, under orders of the pope, had been funding a building project in Rome by lying to the poor and uneducated and telling them that they could buy their dead relatives’ salvation from purgatory by buying the indulgences he pedaled. This lie, along with many others that were being accepted at that time due to lack of education in the populace and political agendas in high places caused Luther to take a stand against the powerful leaders of his day.
Despite persecution and having to go against the ‘normal’ way of doing things in his society, Luther fought for what He believed the Bible said and sparked the Reformation.
While Luther, like all of us, was not perfect, I think that his stand and the fruit that came from the many brave Christian men and women that spoke out for truth during the Reformation is worth celebrating!
Here’s what we did to celebrate:
1. I told them the story of Martin Luther using free pictures I found online.
2. We made gospel tracts with candy and crayons for the trick or treaters
(Here is a PDF of what we made. I put a couple crayons with each tract since they looked like coloring books and attached a piece of candy.)
3. We made a German supper since Luther was from Germany.
4. We sang “A Mighty Fortress is Our God” and “The Son of God Goes Forth to War” – 2 songs we’ve been learning in school.
5. We shared our faith and gave candy/coloring tract/crayon gifts to everyone who came.
1. We were able to learn a lot about church history
2. We were able to PARTICIPATE in church history by sharing our faith!
(After telling the kids about Luther’s stand, I mentioned that the trick or treaters were coming soon so we were going to give them some papers with God’s truth on them, and my 4 year old immediately exclaimed, “and we get to tell them the truth like Luther!”)
3. I felt this was a positive approach to a tough situation.
I did not want to celebrate Halloween. (For good thoughts on that, I suggest this ARTICLE.) However, I didn’t want the focus to be on judging others who chose differently on this issue. I felt that focusing on good and more important things – Christ, His people, and His truths was exactly where I wanted the focus to be.
AND IT WORKED: Across the street from our house was a big Halloween party. Their kids were running around in costumes, they did a piñata, and played some fun looking games. My kids watched at the window yet showed NO regret at not being able to participate. They only showed anticipation for the other kids to finish their games and come to our door so they could give them God’s truth on the tracts we had made!
Things I may change:
Dressing up Like Historical Christian Figures: The girls ran upstairs as I was making supper and came down in their dress-up clothes. Next year I plan to help the kids choose famous people in church history to dress up as. I think if we are following the example of Christians before us, that choosing people to study and dress like would be more appropriate.
We may just go out to eat instead of being around for the trick or treaters: When you have 60+ people showing up at your door, it is HARD for me to not grab that opportunity to share the gospel and teach my kids about sharing their faith, but it is a valid argument that any participation in Halloween is questionable for followers of Christ. It’s something we are still working through.
We may go to a Reformation Party: Our church family had a Reformation party, but we all woke up sick yesterday morning and had to stay home – which I think worked out. It was a wonderful day and a wonderful opportunity to share our faith.