Some of us need to agree to disagree, right outta the gate today. There’s my disclaimer.
There’s a lot of debate among believers this time of year. Is it okay to recognize Halloween and participate in related activities? How can I show the love of Jesus and still keep Halloween fun for my kids? How would Jesus approach Halloween?
Over the years, I’ve had this conversation with many a believer AND non-believer. And let me just say, I’ve yet to win anyone to Christ by staunchly avoiding Halloween. This is not that big of a deal, people. Realizing this, I am not seeking to persuade you to think like I do on the subject; I simply want to offer some food–or should I say candy–for thought.
Here’s how I operate. I love Fall. Like Lorelai Gilmore and Snow, Fall and I have a relationship. It’s not so much about Halloween as it is the season. I love everything about it: the weather, the colors, the smells, pumpkin-flavored anything. I dress up and so do my kids. Our Bible study group even has an annual costume party. We trick-or-treat. We eat candy, and we usually attend at least one Fall Festival at a local church, if not our own.
The way I see it is, I love Jesus. I tell others I love Him. My husband and kids love Jesus and as a family, we strive to serve Him. If my life, my actions, my words, my family’s values and priorities clearly convey true love for Jesus throughout the other 364 days in the year, then I don’t think a fun costume or jack-o-lantern on my porch one night is going to ruin all that.
I haven’t always thought this way, though. I’ve been known as one to avoid the Halloween hullabaloo. And unfortunately, I sometimes tend to come across to people as “holier than thou” or as a “goodie two shoes.” This saddens me because nothing could be further from the truth. I’m a mess, y’all. Jessie, without the control of the Holy Spirit, is SOME-thing else. I know this about myself and, with His help, I’m trying to grow past it.
I was recently reminded of this ugly little fact when I was told that a non-believer acquaintance of mine was shocked that I dress up for Halloween. She couldn’t believe “little miss perfect” celebrated Halloween. Really? In my walk and talk, do I make others feel like my life and my beliefs are THAT unattainable? Do I make myself or my Jesus seem THAT unapproachable?
I don’t want people to think I’m perfect, I want them to think I’m real. So if putting on a costume will make my love affair with Jesus more attractive, or make my walk and life seem more attainable; if it will make me “real” to people, then dress me up, Scotty! As long as my costume is not immodest or offensive or just pure evil, I’m totally down with that.
So WWJD with Halloween? Would he make people feel despised for donning a costume? Would he turn over their candy buckets and run them out of the Fall Fest? I don’t think so.
Jesus was all about doing things differently. His teachings seemed to always go against the traditions and religious customs of the day. He came to show us a new way, a different way than the ones we, as dirt-made humans, had devised. He did crazy things like touch lepers and eat meals with sinful tax collectors. He even traveled with his disciple posse to forsaken places like Samaria, where he even dared to speak to the woman at the well.
I believe Jesus is gracious and loving and powerful. I believe He can use anything–anything–for His glory and to further His Kingdom.
I believe He can use a jack-o-lantern for His glory. As a family, we choose and carve a pumpkin while telling The Pumpkin Parable. It’s a fun and easy way to share the love of Jesus and His salvation with kids. Check out http://www.creativebiblestudy.com/christianobjectlesson-pumpkin.html to learn more about how to do this or Google “Pumpkin Patch Parable” to order a cute book to use along with your carving time.
I believe He can use fear for His purposes and our benefit. In my post on 9/11, “12 Years Ago Today”, I said I believe God can use fear to draw us to Him. Transfer that to Halloween. Every year my husband, a youth pastor, takes our youth group to Hell House. If you’ve never heard of or been to this, it’s a ministry tool like none other. It’s similar to a spook house but the spooks are actually dramatic reenactments of scenes from real life. Things like suicide, drug addiction, abortion. People pass through rooms and witness the staged but real horror of these things. Then, they take a trip to “hell”. Our local Hell House puts you and one other person in a vertical “coffin” and closes the door. It’s pitch black. It’s hot. It’s noisy with the sounds of demons screeching and people screaming. It truly is hell, especially if you’re border-line claustrophobic like me. You enter in one side of the coffin, after passing through a scary, hell-inspired room. When you exit, you exit through the opposite door into a room where you see Jesus.
He’s there. He’s bound to a pole and he’s being beaten for your sin.
After a scene portraying his death, burial and resurrection, you’re escorted by angels to The Throne Room. And there’s Jesus again, only this time He’s in His rightful place on the throne.
Upon exiting, each group is clearly presented with The Gospel and given the opportunity to visit with a counselor. I cannot tell you how many young people I’ve seen get their lives right with Christ after witnessing this. I truly don’t know that I could count them all. What I know is that if we avoided Halloween altogether, if we turned a blind eye to the season, multiple souls would miss an opportunity to make a decision of faith.
The truth is, The World is going to celebrate Halloween whether we as believers avoid it or not. The World cannot wait to get its hands on our kids and teach them Its ways. I want to combat that and teach our kids God’s ways, using whatever means I can. I want what happens in my home to change the world, not the other way around.
As long as I’m not seeking to promote evil or disrespect my Lord, I’m not sinning by participating in Halloween activities. If I see no problem with the fun Halloween offers, if I’m not convicted by the Holy Spirit within me, then scripture says it’s okay for me to participate. In contrast, if I choose not to participate in any form of Halloween activity, that does not make me holier or more obedient than you, and I cannot judge other believers who do not share my convictions. That would be sin. (Read the Book of Romans, chapters 14-15.)
Regardless of your convictions, just love Jesus. Love Him like crazy and the world will know where you stand. Love your neighbor as yourself. Don’t get bogged down in the debate of Halloween, or Christmas trees or Easter eggs. Just love Jesus and love people. He’s big enough to take care of the rest.
Here’s my costume from last night’s party…
I was “A Stick in the Mud.” 😉
“May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
~ Romans 15:5-6