It’s that time of the year again...
When it comes to Halloween there are so many ways we can respond, from shutting the curtains and pretending we're not home, to opening wide our front doors and taking our kids out into our neighbourhoods.
What will your approach be this year?
I know people who would never open the door on Halloween night. Better go out, not be home at all, or sit in the dark – don’t let anyone know you’re there!
I know others who, out of Christian conviction, say “We don’t celebrate Halloween.” (I then answer that I don’t “celebrate” it either, but it’s a fact of life around here, and I don’t see why Christians should be scared of it).
So why are some Christians scared?
They say that Halloween is a form of devil worship. Celebrating the powers of dark.
Then I say: We could take this as an opportunity to truly celebrate that Jesus, our risen Lord, is the one who lights up that darkness. Carve out a friendly looking pumpkin, like Jesus carves us out and gets rid of all the mucky bits, and put a cross candle inside to light us up from inside. Some churches celebrate this as a night of light. (Forest Church does. I want to go and have a look this year).
Others say that Halloween really ought to be about “All Hallows Eve” – the evening before All Saints Day, where we remember all those who have died. It should be a sombre evening, if at all, with worship of remembrance of loved ones the next day. Instead, they do all this spooky stuff, ghosts, zombies, and go out to frighten!
Then I say: I don’t like that frightening bit either, or awful “tricks”, and liturgically, as a good Lutheran, I agree fully with the All Hallows Eve bit and November 1st as memorial. But, if we choose to abstain from the festivities, perhaps we lose the opportunity to explain Halloween's origins, or to talk about our own confidence in the face of evil forces through the death of Jesus. The commercialisation of Christmas and Easter has not stopped the church from celebrating their underlying message. Just as we can explain the birth of Jesus at Christmas, his resurrection at Easter, could we not take the opportunity of Halloween to explain Christ's victory?
I found this quote from CS Lewis:
"There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them.”
Our gospel offers more than the forgiveness of sins; it also includes liberation from the power of evil, death and the devil, and Halloween could be the best time to communicate this.
You will guess by now how the Bell family goes about Halloween: We’re part of it, someone on door duty (usually Stephen) and the others going around the neighbourhood. It’s, shockingly, the only opportunity during the year to meet the neighbours (those with pumpkins outside, that is).
Knock on the doors, have a friendly chat, also chat with those on the streets – it's a great opportunity to meet your neighbourhood and be jolly.
Admire the funny costumes. Make connections. Show the cross around your neck.
I feel like maybe next year, we could have a church party somewhere. “Treats” only! :)
Yours in Christ,