I love autumn. After a hot summer, I am more than ready for crisp cool days, the changing colors all around, and the foods that welcome in the season- apples, cranberries and everything pumpkin. However, I am not a big fan of Halloween- skulls and skeletons, ghosts and goblins, witches and squishy eyeballs- I can do without all of these. Why the craze? We are people that are afraid to die, and yet for some reason, one time a year, we seem perfectly content to make fun of death and evil spirits. I know most of it is probably in good jest, but should we, as Christians, participate in Halloween?
Halloween, or All Hallow's Eve, originated from the beliefs and customs of Celtic speaking countries. It is most likely derived from the festival call "Samhain" which marked the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter, or the darker half of the year. This was a time when it was believed that spirits or fairies could easily come to visit and be particularly active, as well as a time for the dead to revisit. It was a time to reconnect with dead ancestors.These often evil spirits could cause harm and needed to be warded off. The whole idea of dressing up was thought to be a way of disguising oneself from these evil spirits or fairies.Once dressed up or disguised, it was easy to see how pranks and mischief soon fit into the whole scene. Halloween was brought to America by Irish immigrants in the 19th century. Although Halloween was initially frowned on by the Christian church, over time it became widely accepted.
It is easy to succumb to the festivities around us and think of them as harmless and fun. We try to sugarcoat Halloween by dressing up as something other than witches and goblins and steer clear of the darker side. But the Bible clearly speaks on so much of this, if we would just take the time to listen. We are called to be children of light, mirroring our Lord and Savior. I John 1: 5-7 says
"This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin."There are so many verses in God's Word that speak about being light and coming out of the darkness, which refers to our previous life of sin. Here are just a few...
"Come and let us walk in the light of the Lord." Isaiah 2:5
We are His own special people, called to proclaim the praises of Him "who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light." I Peter 2:9
"For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light." Ephesians 5:8If God expects His children to walk in the light, should be participate in any kind of darkness? I know we each have to follow the dictates of our own consciences, but I know that our family has chosen not to participate, no matter how cute and innocent Halloween may seem. I Thessalonians 5:21-22 tells us to test all things, to hold fast to what is good and to abstain from all appearances of evil. We can't follow God halfheartedly, He wants all of us.
As Christians we can make good use of a day that Satan intends for evil. Death is a reality, but we can celebrate the good news that Jesus came to bring the gift of eternal life.We can use this day to witness to all that come to our door (provided we don't live in the country!) or celebrate God's redemption as a family.Thankfully many churches today also offer alternate activities for children to participate in. Our previous church held a family potluck supper and Reformation retelling, which also happened at the same time of the year. One of the young men would read the story of Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation in an engaging way. There was a time of games and dressing up as Bible characters. The church we attend now, does something similar, reminding children of Jesus' love.
"Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord." This is a command for all believers to be as Christ was- "holy, harmless, undefiled and separate from sinners" (Hebrews 6:26).