I’ve been thinking a lot about this phrase. It’s one thing to apply it to myself; it’s another to apply it to a household. Two key events brought this more recently to my mind: Disney’s defiance against traditional values was one and the other was Halloween.
This year Disney has openly declared its support of the LGBTQ+ agenda and that not only do they support it, they will also be promoting it in their upcoming films. Suddenly I started to notice Disney’s influence everywhere I turned: music, toys, bumper stickers, food labels, clothing, people’s vacation plans. Disney is iconic and has woven itself into the fabric of our society. It is truly a household name; so many of our fond childhood memories involve something Disney; whether it be Winnie the Pooh and Eeyore or Mickey Mouse or all those classic friends such as Lady and the Tramp, Dumbo, or Copper and Todd. I’m sure you can add to that list of memories. And don’t we all want to pass them on to our children? But does including some Disney in our life mean that we are celebrating them?
When Halloween rolled around this fall, our children were more aware of it than ever before. They couldn’t help but be intrigued with something that even friends at church participate in. There’s a thrill that comes with candy and dressing up and being a little scared. But they also don’t like the horror and gore that lines store shelves and neighborhoods. This time I did a bit of research and discovered the original religious roots of this holiday. It turns out that All Hallow’s Eve (Oct. 31st) is a time to remember the eternity of our souls and the certainty of death so each child held a lit candle and we read in Revelation about the White Throne of Judgment:
November first is All Saint’s Day and we made soul cakes with holes in the middle. We remembered the martyrs and missionaries who dedicated their lives to telling others about the gospel. We discussed how every person is empty until we surrender our lives to Jesus and He fills us.
The third day of observation is All Souls Day. The children drew pictures about people who impact their lives and also drew about the people with whom they want to share Jesus:
I hope that we can build on this new fall tradition and I am also thinking that I can apply what I learned from my efforts to other aspects of this world. Perhaps I can take the evil of this society we live in and use it as opportunity for teaching our children about what we truly believe. Maybe there are ways to enjoy the nostalgia of Disney without supporting them financially or endorsing their messages; maybe there are ways for our family to be familiar with what is trending so that we can engage our neighbors in discussions that take us all a little deeper in thought. Maybe.
I’m starting to conclude that the key to being in and not of is being the salt and the light within the world. Just as salt brings flavor and light provides contrast, in a world that has nothing but emptiness to give our presence can offer comfort and hope because we are not of it. We are certain of what is not seen.