It’s that time of the year again. Temperatures are falling, leaves are changing colors, pumpkins are decorating porches . . . and Christians are participating in the never-ending debate about the celebration of Halloween.
Is it right for a Christian family to join in the secular celebration of Halloween or not?
I understand the debate. As a child, I went trick or treating with my family. As a teenager, I delivered tracts door to door on Halloween as an alternative to trick or treating. As an adult, I struggled with this question with my own children and, for many years, decided not to participate.
I have been through years where we turned out the lights and watched movies in the basement.
I serve at a church where we have a Fall Family Festival as an alternative and outreach to the community.
I know the dangers of the occult and the warnings to avoid even the appearance of evil.
I get it. I really do.
But I let my children go trick or treating in our neighborhood last year and I am going to let them go again this year.
Because I believe that the opportunities for good far outweigh the appearances of evil.
Last year on Halloween, I couldn’t help but notice that many of the houses in our neighborhood had their porch lights on. As I looked down the street, I could see neighbors who were normally inside their homes standing on their porches or right inside their front doors waiting excitedly for children to come asking for candy. These were our neighbors . . . people within our sphere of influence . . . people we are called to share the love of Jesus with . . .
and they were all waiting . . . inviting us to come up to their doors with our children . . . inviting us to be part of their lives for this one night.
What other night is there when our neighbors actually WANT us to come to their door? What other night is there when it is EXPECTED that we approach them, that we are INVITED to their homes? What other night is there when we can open OUR doors and other families will actually WANT to come to us?
But so many of us spend this night in the basement with the lights off.
What message does that send?
When I looked down my street last year, I couldn’t help but notice the opportunities that were there, and I couldn’t help but think of the message we were sending by keeping our children inside. Were we somehow communicating to our neighbors that we felt that we were better than they were, that we were too “spiritual” to associate with them on this night?
“Hey kids,” I said enthusiastically, “Why don’t you run and get on a costume and go trick or treating at the neighbors?”
And that’s how our 12 year avoidance of Halloween was broken.
Yes, I know that Halloween is a pagan holiday. Yes, I know that Satan is very real. I understand the struggle that takes place in the spiritual realm.
But I believe that our God is bigger. Our God is stronger. Our God is much more powerful than Satan and his forces.
Satan is constantly trying to twist and distort Christian celebrations for his glory. Why can’t we do the same to one of his “celebrations?”
We are called to be the light of the world. But the light of the world can’t shine if it is hidden under a bushel . . . or in a dark house . . . or in the basement with the lights off.
We are called to be the salt of the earth. But if the salt never gets out of the shaker, how can it do any good?
What does it look like to the world when we are so concerned with whether or not Christians should participate in Halloween activities that we miss the opportunities to be light and salt that this very night provides?
My kids will not dress like ghosts, goblins, or witches. We will not attend haunted houses. But we will reach out to our neighbors on this night. We will walk down our street, say “hello”, build relationships, and show our neighbors that we do not think we are better than they are, that we do not have a “holier-than-thou” attitude.
We will stop judging the world and start loving our neighbors instead.
And maybe, just maybe, we will begin to make a difference in our sphere of influence as a result.
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