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def. 1 Mod*derhood (mad-der-hud) 1) A mama of multiples with a modern style yet old school values

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Pumpkin Patch Parable

Doing a search on the internet for Christian Halloween activities results in skim pickings.  I can understand this as there are many Christians who don't feel in good conscience they can participate in this holiday.  As a follower of Christ, and as a mother, I have had to do some soul searching myself to decide how I would handle this celebration.

One year, I heard a woman talking on a Christian radio station about how she made the decision to open her home to her neighbors, provide candy, and say a prayer (in her heart) over each child that came to her door.  Instead of shutting out her neighbors on principle, she turned Halloween into an opportunity to reach out to them.  This is the heart I decided to adopt.

In our home, we don't make Halloween about witches or evil.  We don't have any scary decorations or scary costumes.  Instead, we make Halloween about making memories as a family (and, of course, getting our candy on).

This year, I came across one Christian Halloween-themed lesson that I just HAD to share.  It's based on a book called The Pumpkin Patch Parable by Liz Curtis Higgs.  We decided to use this story in our small group's family time.

Here's how it went:

Of course, as at most small group events, we had to have treats!  This was one of my favorite recipes of the season: Spice Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting.  You can find the recipe here.  The only thing I did differently is to use 1.5 cups of pumpkin and cook them 16.5 minutes a batch.


Pumpkin Punch.  One tub of orange sherbet with 2 liters of Sprite.  For the hand, I filled a latex glove with water, put in some food coloring, and froze it about 6 hours.  

OK, I said we don't do scary stuff, but that hand probably counts as scary, huh?  I like to imagine, however, it's a little red person giving me a high five or waving hello.  :)

The kids had a blast watching Jason, our small group leader, carve out the pumpkin as Marcos, my theatrical hubby, told the story of the Pumpkin Patch Parable.

Ewww...stinky pumpkin yucky stuff!!!

Great times!

Here is the info and a few tips for the lesson via Creative Bible Study.  This is definitely something we'll do each year with our children.  I hope you will too!

Christian Object Lesson

Supplies needed: One real pumpkin, carving tools, candle, lighter/matches

Bible truth: We become a new creation through Jesus and can let His light shine in and through our lives.

John 8:12 "When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."

2 Corinthians 4:6 "For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ."

Matthew 5:14-16 "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."

Bible songs: "This Little Light of Mine"

Christian Object lesson: A Picture of Salvation
If you have the book, read it as you carve the pumpkin. It has Scriptures throughout the book and a wonderful story. You can order it here.

Carve an actual pumpkin for this Christian object lesson.  As you cut the pumpkin open and pull the "yucky" pulp out, tell how this is a picture of how God takes us and cleanses us from all our sin - casting them as far as the east is from the west.

The carving of the eyes, nose, and SMILING face, represents how God makes us a new creation.
Then as you put the light into the pumpkin, remind them that Christ comes into our lives as a light and can shine through us into a dark world.
Encourage them through the month of October to remember this Christian object lesson and the light of Christ every time they see a carved pumpkin and how we as Christians should be letting His light shine through our lives.

A Script to go along with this Christian Object Lesson: 

(Based on Liz Curtis Higgs' book - for those that do not have the book. The book is so much fun to read though; I recommend getting a copy. Liz has such a special way of writing, and there is such a rhythm to the story. She has also added a Scripture on every page!)

Today I want to tell you a story. It's a special story called a 'parable'. A parable is an earthly story that has a heavenly meaning. In the Bible there are many parables that Jesus told so we could understand His teachings better.

This is a story about a farmer and a pumpkin.  The Farmer lives wa-a-a-a-ay out in the country. On his farm He has a pumpkin patch.

Pumpkins are really special. They start out as small oval seeds that grow into big, orange pumpkins. The farmer plants the seeds, waters, and cares for the pumpkin vines and patiently waits as they grow.

Finally by October there are big, orange pumpkins in his pumpkin patch! Some are tall and lean, some are short and round, and some have bumps and lumps. But they are all pumpkins and all were planted and cared for by the Farmer.

One day the Farmer chose a pumpkin for a special project. He brings it in from the field and washes it off. You have to be careful with pumpkins; they're tough on the outside, but if you drop them, they break into pieces!

The Farmer takes a large knife and cuts a hole in the top of the pumpkin. Inside there is yucky, slimy pulp waiting for Him. That has to go! He cleans it all out and throws it away - never to be seen again.

After that He gives the pumpkin a new face! He cuts two triangles for eyes, a square for a nose, and a big, wide smile!

Then He does something really special. He puts a small white candle down inside the pumpkin and lights the wick.

How that pumpkin glows! As people pass by, they see the smiling pumpkin and smile back. They know that once again the Farmer has taken a simple pumpkin and changed it into a glorious sight!

The Meaning of the Parable

Just like us, all the pumpkins were different. But there was something the same about every one of them - that yucky, slimy pulp on the inside!

The yucky, slimy pulp is like the sin that's in us. Romans 3:23 says: "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." That's every single one of us.

God has made a way that all our sin can be forgiven and washed away. God even says He'll cast them as far as the East is from the West. Romans 5:8 says: "While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."

John 3:16 goes on to say: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life."
After cleaning out that pumpkin, the Farmer gave the pumpkin a new face! The Bible says God can make us a new creation too.

2 Corinthians 5:17 says: "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!"
Then came the really special part. The light was placed inside that pumpkin and it glowed for all to see!

2 Corinthians 4:6 says: "For God, who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness,' made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ."
And Matthew 5:16 says: "In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."

So we can become like that pumpkin in the lesson - a glorious sight for others to see the love of Jesus!

1. Pre-carve the pumpkin.  
2. Be sure to have lots of paper towels near by on which to put the yucky insides.
3. This lesson is best suited for 3 years old and up.  If you have little ones, be sure to keep their curious hands away from the carving knives.
4. Toast the pumpkin seeds afterward telling the story!
5. Couple this lesson with a craft like the mini booklet here.

Have fun and Happy Halloween!

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