The invitation was to a Christmas party. There would be gifts for the children, a chocolate fountain, a DJ and music, and… a roving magician. A lot of our friends and colleagues would be attending.
I looked at the notice. Actually, I stared at it. My first thought: “In this day in age, with sincere Christian parents fighting to keep their children shielded from Harry Potter, their going to have a roving magician?”
At home, my husband and I briefly discussed the situation. He was quite clear: “We’re not going.” Now the question that plagued me was how to explain our decision when friends and colleagues questioned us. I want to be a witness, not a stumbling block.
The term “stumbling block” echoed to me from the Bible so I searched and found the following:
"Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way" Romans 14:12-14 (in context).
"But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak" 1 Corinthians 8:8-10 (in context).
Reading further: “…the mother’s most sacred duty is to her children. Parents are entrusted with the present and eternal interests of their children. They are to hold the reins of government and guide their households to the honor of God.”1
That was my answer. My child is 3 years old. How could I possibly ever explain that there is a difference between “innocent magic” and “harmful magic”; that there is “good magic” and “bad magic”? (See Revelation 21:7-9 [NIV] and Revelation 22:14-15 [NIV].) The Bible is clear: There is no difference.
I won’t even attempt to explain that the magician would just be doing tricks. In our home, we have made it a practice not to play tricks on our child. Using the principles outlined by Jesus in Exodus 20:16 (KJV)and Matthew 5:16 and 19-20 (KJV), we are attempting to teach our daughter that tricks are a form of deception; that deception is of Satan; that Jesus is always truthful.
A three year old child is a very concrete, literal thinker. I can't play tricks on her and I can't blur lines with her. Cognitively she would not able to understand. To her, we would just appear to be inconsistent - teaching her one thing and then doing another.
No. Not even for a simple holiday party will we waver on this point. My child has been dedicated to Christ. She is destined to work for Him. Deception in any form, even in innocent fun, is deception still.
© 2010, C. Gillan Byrne
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1White, E. G. (1952/1980). Mother – Queen of the Household (Chapter Title). In E. G. White Publications (Eds.), Adventist Home, The (p. 234, ¶3). Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association.