We have seen a steady decline in faith and church attendance. Because it all starts with how we raise our children, and how that influences them, I believe that how we parent as a society has had an effect on this, and that we can make a positive impact on this with more awareness and intention. Let’s take into consideration, the pagan traditions that have slowly become more and more saturated over holidays like Christmas, Easter and Halloween.
Advent and Christmas!
The Advent Season and Christmas have lost their meaning in society. What once was revered as a time for the anticipation and preparing for the celebration of the birth of Christ in the Nativity in Advent, is now a stressful shopping season! What is Christmas now? Mostly, it is void of Jesus, and the nativity. This is very clear in the majority of what you see all around you. What we call Advent, to others a time of buildup that is void of Jesus, and so the day itself is a disappointment because it is void of Jesus. A time of false anticipation for someone who truly does not arrive? You can go to any stores and see what it is all about now. The fabricated Christmas centered around Santa aka a time of high profits for businesses, full of Santa, elves, snowflakes, snowmen and more has led many astray for those that go with the flow of the world.
Things to consider: When we focus on Santa more than Jesus what are we telling our children? As a mainstream society we tell our children to be good for Santa for worldly rewards, but find it challenging to talk to them about being good for God for the reward of heaven because most parents believe it to be a difficult concept. When the focus becomes on worldly things instead of what came to us from out of this world what are we saying? Yet, we don't hesitate to show them movies and story books on false superhero's with all kinds of elaborate story lines. We cannot fix that the stores lack anything nativity related, and are stocked with mostly all other kinds of things that have nothing to do with Christmas. However, we can help what we surround ourselves with and our family with at our homes to counter that. These are great opportunities of faith building through traditions.
Things to consider: kids and the parents focus more on the coming of Santa, rather than the coming of Jesus. Likewise, Santa takes on a persona of his own that equals God in that children should be good for Santa to seek material goods, as opposed to being good for God. Mostly, society as a whole has diluted the real meaning of Christmas, and so how can children be reverent and faithful, when they are so distracted by all the visual and spiritual noise out there. Unintentional Santa idolatry and worship can be a real issue during this time and we can be the cause for our children breaking this commandment. We must be aware of all of this and counter it in our own homes. If Advent was properly celebrated, then Christmas day would be what it should.
Next, we have Easter! The most incredible thing happens after quite a liturgical holy week, the resurrection of Jesus after his crucifixion on the cross! This is by far the most incredible story of redemption, salvation and adventure. Yet, society has watered it down with the Easter bunny, Easter eggs and candy.
Things to consider: If we ask most children what is Easter about and what they are excited about, is it the true story of the resurrection, or is it the Easter bunny? In the woke, or pagan world, it has become the Easter Bunny’s day, and the decorations are mostly about bunnies and eggs.
Solution: Bring the attention back to the resurrection of Jesus with what you surround yourself with during this time. It should be Jesus! Instead of a big fat Easter bunny statue, why not a Jesus statue? Children unintentionally start idolizing or worshipping the Easter bunny on Easter and Santa on Christmas.
Halloween focusses and dressing up as fake “superhero” or role models “of the world”. Some major ones have even gone woke. We cannot stand for that. We must stand firmly upon our unchanging faith. Halloween focuses on the spooky and creepy things, and is made ultra-exciting for children because of the candy! There are extremes to everything, and I think the right balance can make a difference. One extreme is to not celebrate Halloween at all, or we can find some balance and bring holiness into the day, and allow our children to participate as something holy. We can capitalize on this day as a way to dress as something holy! We rarely get opportunities to openly engage in conversation about these amazing saints in heaven out there, so that is another advantage, because the All Saints day celebrations are usually with other like-minded faithful people. The very next day is All Saints Day. These are the true superheroes with super human strengths such as miracles, healings, and doing amazing things through God. These ought to be our true role models. A day to celebrate holiness and those that are holy and that can inspire us! It makes me sad for Jesus and the saints that this day does not get more recognition. We celebrate individual saints, and so this is an amazing opportunity to celebrate all the Saints in heaven! Saint Philip Neri said, “Never say, “what great things the saints do, but what great things God does for His Saints” In other words, these great saints are in God’s glory in heaven, because they desired and sought out God’s glory in them.
Simply put, as a family, if we make Halloween a bigger deal than All Saints Day which is the next day, then what message are we sending our children? That Halloween and the fake role models of the world are more important and exciting!? I believe we can find a happy balance between seeing the problem in the world of faith going way down, and wanting to be a part of that change within the family. Things to consider: The important messages that could be passed to our children through this are, that kids should want to be like the saints, and therefore dress up as a saint. This is a great opportunity to introduce the people that only celebrate this pagan day to the saints. If you are going to make a big deal about Halloween, make a bigger deal about All Saints Day to send the right message in how you live, and what matters.
Something to consider: What are we telling our children through making Halloween such a great big celebration and not All Saints Day?
Solution: We can counter this by celebrating and making All Saints Day something even greater than Halloween in how we recognize it!
So, we take these amazing occasions and opportunities to grow in faith, and as a society we have made it about something else, thinking kids are too young to talk to them about things of the faith. It is never too early! In fact, we should start early, and weave them into every part of our day. With the examples of Christmas, Easter and Halloween, we can really amplify our Liturgical Living!
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