Saturday, October 22, 2011

Jack o' lanterns for Jesus

I love carving pumpkins for Halloween.

Since I was a little girl, my dad has always had the biggest pumpkin on the block.  
When I say big, I mean huge.  

In years of pumpkin draught, maintaining the tradition required drives of over a 100 miles to get a worthy pumpkin.  My parents have done an impressive job keeping the legacy alive.  The ceremonial bringing-home-of-the-pumpkin each fall was almost as anticipated as bring home a Christmas tree.  Carving our pumpkin was as much of a family gathering as trimming the tree for Christmas.  In my childhood neighborhood, Halloween was a welcoming, family and community affair.  As a result, there is something about a grinning jack o' lantern glowing near a front door that makes me feel warm and cozy.

I have never been one who enjoys the scary side of Halloween.  We tend to downplay that as a family.  I am especially excited to impart a more positive message to my kids as we anticipate Halloween this year.  After all, the transformation of a pumpkin into a jack o' lantern is a great analogy for how we change when we trust Jesus.  

Our children's chapel leader recently pointed this out to me:

Look at this pumpkin, all it's knots, brown spots, dirt marks, scratches.
It's even yuckier when you look inside.  It's full of yucky muck and gooey seeds!
But what happens when we decide to make it into a jack o' lantern?
We scoop out the gunk.
We give the pumpkin a new face.
We place a light inside,
so it shines in the darkness for all to see.

We too are full of scratches, spots, bruises and marks from life.
Inside, our hearts are even more marred by the yucky effects of sin.
But when we trust in Jesus, giving ourselves over to God,
all the goop of our lives is washed away.
We have a new life, a new outlook, a new "face."
And Christ's light shines through us
 into the darkness of the world.

This season, we'll all trying to be like jack o'lanterns!  But we'll be trying to let our light shine everyday, not just on Halloween.  

Our little pumpkins last year.

Happy pumpkin carving, from the Happily Ever Johnsons!

1 comment:

Kristi said...

I love this! I'd never heard it before, and will definitely talk to the kids about it. Thanks!