I have such affection for this time of year. All the way from September until Christmas. I genuinely miss my parents during these months. They were special times for my family, and my mom and dad always made them seem so memorable. My mother, especially, made everything seem extraordinary in my mind. Starting in September, we would always go find an apple orchard to visit and select some apples we would like to have. It always included a purchase of a candied or caramel apple as well, which were my favorite!
October was interesting because my father was a Pastor, so folks were always wondering how we were going to handle Halloween.
My parents handled it consummately. They understood the Pagan rituals that initiated the holiday – just like other holidays that we chose to celebrate, with an understanding that our family had a deep love of Jesus as our eternal light and hope, and wanted others to see that. They knew it was important for our childhood fellowship with friends to go trick or treating and dress up for the Halloween traditions at school, so they had a rule for us. The rule was, they would help us make a costume, but the costume had to be a “happy” costume. We were not allowed to dress as anything demonic or even remotely resembling, like a witch, a skeleton, or ghosts. We could dress up like cowboys, princesses, doctors, nurses, train conductors, office workers, chefs, or any other costume that would represent something positive. We always found plenty of options.
When we were little and went trick or treating, we lived on military posts, and it was relatively safe. It was the late 1960’s and the 1970’s. We had military police guarding the front gate, so unauthorized people were not able to come in. My parents always had us go with friends, and never alone. They gave us a neighborhood radius to travel, and it depended on our age how far we could go. Once we got home, we had to empty our bags on the floor, and my mom would go through everything and inspect it, to make sure it looked safe. I feel so proud when remembering those moments now and discerning how much love she had for us. Those were wonderful days.
My dad always taught us that God loved us for who we were because we also loved Him. We were so thankful He had sent His son, Jesus, to die for our sins. My parents’ joy was evident to everyone because they had a deep and wonderful assurance about God’s love, which had been “poured into their hearts” as stated in Romans 5:5. We never went a day without a reminder of this, or a prayer to remind us of their love, and His love. God truly blessed me with wonderful parents who set a consummate example of what genuine love looked like.