Yesterday was a holiday called Dia de los Muertos, or day of the dead, which is celebrated in Mexico, and a few other Latin American cultures. Some tie this in with Halloween, or Reformation day and in our American culture, these things tend to get jumbled together, as kids may hear about them all without really knowing much about why they are celebrated. One person joked that most Americans celebrated by watching the Disney movie Coco, in which a young boy talks with his dead ancestors, which seems to give his life more meaning. Its neat and funny in a disney sort of way of blending cultural things, and interacting with the dead, but not much in line with core Chritian beliefs. Do any cultural traditions have an influence on your religious beliefs and practices?
“O Lord, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am! Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing before you. Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath! Selah Psalm 39:4-5
The same can be said as to how we let the culture influence how we practice any holidays or traditions. In many churches, there is a tradition of limiting the influence of the culture on us and our children, or trying to view our cultural traditions in light of a Christin worldview. One recent example is Halloween. I grew up dressing up for halloween parties in school and doing some trick-or-treating around our small town, and the same practices go on today. Several churches have trunk or treat, or fall festival events which celebrate this time of year with an embedded Gospel message. We try to teach the truth about these things to our kids without getting too caught up in the celebrations, but there is always a secular pull of these things that can lead some, even adults, away from Christ. How do you keep some cultural things separated from your faith?
For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing, and they have no more reward, for the memory of them is forgotten. Their love and their hate and their envy have already perished, and forever they have no more share in all that is done under the sun. Ecclesiastes 9:5-6
One good thing about Halloween, or the Day of the Dead, is that it brings up the questions of what happens after we die, and makes us aware of our own mortality, which is good to consider from time to time. As children and teenagers, we may think we are close to immortal, as the whole world with many possibilities seems ahead of us yet, but those years quickly pass and the limit to our lives seems to approach faster as we get older. So, what are we to do with our our remaining days? Do we look for the living among the dead, seeking to share the hope of new life found in Christ with those who are passing through this world? While it is good to remember the lives of those who have passed on, they along with us will be mostly forgotten in another hundred years or so. Let us not take our days for granted and make the most of what we have been given!
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20
Yours in Christ,