Fall is my favorite season. And October, for me, is the season’s pinnacle. September may be an extension of summer, except for students going back to school. November feasting and fellowship is great, but Thanksgiving dinner is a lot of work. In between, the leaves have their most dramatic colors. And then there’s Halloween, a holiday that carries mixed feelings for many.
“Halloween” is short for All Hallow’s Eve. One year I told trick-or-treaters, “I’ll give you extra candy if you can tell me what holiday tomorrow is!” Not a one could tell me. I found that sad. All Hallows, or All Saints Day, is a good time to remember heroes of faith who came before and to celebrate ones still alive—myself included. I like to listen to a playlist I made about people throughout the ages who have trusted God.
Some people don’t celebrate Halloween because it’s “the Devil’s holiday.” I understand; Satan worshipers do exist, and I’ve heard October 31 is a “holy” day for them. I don’t make light of such things. But I don’t offer the Devil any day of any year. I don’t give credit to one who hates us all and hates God most. He’s the worst loser ever.
So yes, I celebrate in October. There’s so much to enjoy, I’m not going to let any devil, or any saint, prevent me. For me, celebration is in order, and I try to make it an act of worship to the God I serve.
Growing up in Southern California, I didn’t see leaves change much. People say California has just two seasons, day and night. In contrast, the first time saw autumn in Portland, Oregon, I fell in love with the exciting colors of the leaves. Many look like they on fire, with deep reds subtly blending into orange and yellow; others burst with such bright solid hues they seem alive with all the energy they can muster before they die. And when those leaves have fallen, I trudge through thick, crispy piles on the ground and remember raking leaves into piles with my nieces and nephew, jumping in those piles, and raking them up all over again.
I also love the chill in the air. It’s not freezing, but just cool enough to refresh and invigorate.
I celebrate the fresh and unique foods of fall: pumpkins for pie made from scratch, hot spiced cider, honey crisp apples with pumpkin cream cheese dip, caramel apple pops (my favorite fall candy, but I had to order online this year because I couldn’t find them in any store!)
I love putting together costumes and dressing up in them. And Halloween is usually the only time that’s socially acceptable. I am something different every year. I’ve been an angel, a fairy, the Sea Witch, a bride, a butterfly, and one of my own vampire characters. In my younger years, I was a headless ghost, Elton John, one of Tolkien’s Nazgul, and a vampire I called “Count To-Ten.” Last year I was a pirate. This year, I’ll be a steampunk lady. I’m still improving my costume.
Halloween’s also an acceptable time to share scary stories. Some of my stories are scary. Nine Bridges writers’ group has held a number of spooky storytelling nights in October, costumes optional.
Some people don’t like scary stories. That’s okay. I like some and not others. I prefer stories that make me think about spiritual and moral questions and dilemmas. I like well-developed characters and satisfying endings. I like to see interesting examples of evil not paying and good laboring to triumph over evil. I don’t care for saccharine sweet stories that pretend evil doesn’t exist in this life. I know that both good and evil have their price. Eventually God will bring all to justice and make a new, perfect world. But currently, because He allows free choice and wants those who follow Him to grow strong and be good examples, we have to wrestle with problems and have to walk out a commitment to give up the evil parts of ourselves. We can’t give that evil up by pretending it doesn’t exist.
My biggest reason for celebrating this season is that on October 30, 1984, I was in a car accident in which the Lord saved my life through a miracle of circumstance. My doctor told me that all others in similar accidents died before reaching the hospital. I suffered only a fractured pelvis.
Jesus had been drawing me close to Himself in a new and deeper way than ever before. I had learned about Him by reading the Bible as a child and confessed Him as my Savior from my early teens, but in fall 1984, He truly became the Lover of my soul. He asked me if I wanted to go Home to be with Him in Heaven or stay on earth. I chose to stay here so I could help others discover the Divine Romance. I had no idea I would soon be in a car crash. I believe its outcome would have been quite different had I chose to go to Heaven. As if to confirm that fact, the couple I was living with said, “We think this accident happened so you could decide whether to go to Heaven or stay here.”
I told them the accident happened because I pulled out in front of a pickup truck and that God had already given me that choice. He had honored my choice. He has continued to do so to this day.
Looking back on my reason for staying here, I think of my life as forfeit as of that October 30. I don’t belong to myself; that’s actually true of every follower of Christ. He so graciously died in our place; the least we can do is live every day for Him. But I had it spelled out so dramatically, I’m ashamed of every moment I haven’t lived as Christ’s beloved and shared that love with others.
I look forward to finishing my memoir, which reveals in detail how Jesus wooed me and won me for His bride. It also will relate His incredible patience with me when I walked away in disbelief, suffered through bouts of mental illness, battled over an unexpected child, and regained my trust in my spiritual Husband. I can’t say when the book will be finished; I’m working on other projects, too. I surely keep busy! Do you? What are you harvesting in your life this fall? Please use the contact page to let me know!