Hey, Brunswick County!
It's Fall. It's cold. I stoked up the wood stove for the first time since March this morning. The leaves are turning. It's November. Thanksgiving is coming soon. And then it'll be the Christmas Season.
There is just something special about this time of year!
And that yearly event that starts with an 'H,' where folks give recognition to demons, witches, ghouls, and vampires, is over. Thank Heaven!
I really don't like H.
When the children were still at home, we decorated for Fall, had a party with doughnuts, apple bobbing, and costumes but I tried to give the October 31 event a more noble and uplifting name like, “Ancestor's Day” or “Thinking about Resurrection Day,” or “Temple Day” or “Fall Harvest Festival.”
They would generally correct me and say, “Oh, Dad! Just call it H.....”
When we did pumpkin carving I would make a smiling face or an outline of a temple.
When they wanted suggestions for costumes, we would steer them towards pirates, or cowboys, or princesses, or astronauts.
And then, of course, there was the excessive candy thing. As a dentist, I always saw a spike in toothaches in children and adults in the weeks following H, not because they had cavities from that year's candy haul but because there was a exponential growth of existing bacteria in those weeks.
But, my main beef with H is the scared looks I have seen in small children.
We were with some of our grandchildren this past weekend.
Almost two year old Paige is a very happy soul.
But, when her 12 year old brother came out with a pitch black cloak on and a black covering over his head, she started to shake in terror. She put her little hands up and said, “No, no, no!”
Her brother laughed and took off the head covering and she was pacified a bit but still looked at him apprehensively. If he started to cover his head again she got this pitiful look of horror on her face and her hands went back up pleading that he not put it back on.
Out natural tendency was to smile at this but I was struck by the inappropriateness of it all.
Here was this sweet little girl, who probably sees angels around her when she prays, seeing a depiction of everything that Jesus had taught her to avoid, in her own house, embodied by her older brother whom she adored.
And yet, society today, somehow delights in scaring the upcoming generation. For some reason, it is normal to give them increasing doses of fear and grossness and shock and nightmares.
Some folks just seem to need increasingly terrifying movies so that they have emotions at all.
And, like drugs, alcohol, or immorality, overtime folks become immune to the shock and say things like, “Oh, it doesn't affect me, I know it's not real.”
But, I don't know how that can be true.
Years ago, when I was active as a Boy Scout leader, we would take the boys on night hikes with flash lights.
It would be beautiful weather, with soft moonlight and the sounds of cicadas and frogs all around us. Most of the boys would be happy, quietly walking along and enjoying the evening breeze and identifying star constellations.
But, there would always be a few who, with furtive glances, would nervously walk the forest paths. I would know right away what they were afraid of.
These were the boys who, in my estimation, had foolish parents who would revel in the macabre, and feast on the feelings of fear that a movie about serial killers creeping around in the dark brings.
Those boys were unable to enjoy a nice hike.
And you can't tell me that they didn't have similar experiences when they were home alone. Or when they went out at night to get their backpack from the car. Or when they heard a sound in the attic.
No doubt, at times, there might be something in the attic or in the woods but why not teach them faith and not fear.
To my mind, teaching children and young people and old people to pray in faith to a very real Savior Jesus Christ would be much more important than teaching fear of the mostly imaginary minions of the adversary, who themselves fear the Lord.
So, here is my hope, (and so far my children have, for the most part figured this out,) that this world would raise children who have no fear of darkness because their lives are so full of light.
I think it is no accident that we follow H with T and then C because T and C are full of family, and lights, and goodness.
I was reading in the book of Matthew this morning about the cleansing that will occur as the Lamb of God returns in glory. I'm pretty sure that there will be a lot of videos that will melt at that day that have dripping knives on the front of their DVD cases.
Well, let's not think about that.
Let's just rejoice in the Light of the coming Holidays!