As much as I love to cook up a good pumpkin and throw it into just about everything, I’ve found that there are other – non-culinary – uses for those big fat squashes that might not be edible, per se, but are just as much fun.
This Redeemed Jack-O-Lantern, for example. I found the instructions in the files left by the previous K3 teacher in my classroom, and found further inspiration in the fabulous children’s book, The Pumpkin Patch Parable (that right there is an affiliate link), written by one of my favorite authors, Liz Curtis Higgs (That is not. An affiliate link, I mean.). Instead of glorifying death and fear, it celebrates life and hope; and it radiates faith. That’s my kind o’ pumpkin!
How a Jack-O-Lantern is Redeemed
- Choose a big fat pumpkin, the best you can find. No bitsy pie pumpkins this time around! “… just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world…” Eph 1:4
- Use a sharp knife to cut a lid out of the top of the pumpkin, making it large enough for you to fit your hand in comfortably.
- Scoop out all the icky yucky slimy junk stuck inside the pumpkin. It kind of reminds one of all the yuckiness (aka, sin) that resides in each of our hearts. “What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man.” Mark 7:20-23
- Throw away the icky yucky slimy junk. (If your frugal heart cannot bear to part with the seeds… save them discreetly! The eliminating of the yucky junk is an essential element of the redemption illustration.) “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” I John 1:9
- Take a star-shaped cookie cutter and place it on the pumpkin in the general approximation of where it would have eyes if it were a face. Use a hammer to tap the cookie cutter into the pumpkin, and remove the star shaped piece of pumpkin to reveal a star-shaped eye. Repeat for the second eye. (Note: Plastic cookie cutters work, but metal cookie cutters work better. And if you have neither, just use a sharp knife and free-hand it.) Because our sin separated us from God, He had to redeem us. He sent His Son Jesus to earth to live a perfect life and be the perfect sacrifice for our sin. He announced the arrival of His Son on earth with, among other things, a very special star. “Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.” Mat 2:1-3
- Use the sharp knife to cut a cross-shaped piece where a nose would be on your pumpkin’s face. God’s redemption plan culminated in the death of Jesus on the cross and His subsequent resurrection. “Without shedding of blood there is no remission.” Heb 9:22
- Use a fish-shaped cookie cutter (What? No such thing in your house? Just use a knife.) and a hammer to punch out the mouth of the pumpkin face. No Bible verse here, but a little bit of Christian history: the persecuted early church used a fish as a symbol whereby they identified one another. Hence it is now a symbol of our belief and faith in Jesus Christ as our Redeemer.
- Place a tea light candle (I like the fake ones from the dollar store) inside the pumpkin and watch the light shine through the pumpkin’s face. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Mat 5:16