Halloween: A New Perspective
Growing up in a conservative Christian home, we quit celebrating Halloween when I was around preschool age. We would turn off all the lights and snuggle up with a movie while trick-or-treaters would pass our house. Later, our church began having harvest parties and we'd go to those. When I got married, my husband's family also didn't participate in Halloween, so it was just a given that we wouldn't as a married couple either.
Now, with a three year old who asks lots of questions, we've explained a little bit about what Halloween is and why we don't participate. I have assumed this would be how we'd live the rest of our lives...until yesterday.
I've been reading post after post on what different Christian bloggers do for Halloween. Some participate just for the harmless fun, some go the Trunk-or-Treat or harvest party route and use the day as a witnessing tool, and others hide out just like we do. I find all the perspectives interesting and have been especially interested since my brother-in-law and sister do participate and my brother-in-law has many sources teaching about the origins of the holiday being non-pagan. I won't go into those here because that's not what had an effect on me anyway.
My view has been that no matter the origins, there's nothing Christian left about the "holiday" and therefore, we should stay as far away as possible. Much like my perspective of Christmas is that even though many believe it has pagan beginnings, it is now a time when Christians celebrate Christ and therefore, we observe it.
Here's what changed my mind.
This is a post by Micah, a friend on facebook who although I don't know well, I do respect greatly for his family's strong values and beliefs. Micah and Johanna are starting a ministry in Kansas City for area refugees and definitely have a heart for the community.
For our family, Halloween is our least favorite holiday, somewhere between Groundhog Day and Flag Day. We love the free candy, and carving pumpkins, but that's it. Our kids don't dress up, we don't trick or treat, etc. BUT we do decorate our house in fall decor, enjoy carving pumpkins, burn apple scented candles, read stories about the early church and the Reformers, buy big bags of candy for our kids as treats, and we open up our brightly lit home for each little lady bug, Captain America or ghoul that comes trick or treating. Though we don't have much to do with the holiday personally, we will open our door and love on strangers who do. And we intentionally teach our kids about what we are doing and why. It's our way of trying to be a bright shining light in a world in love with darkness. But remember, when THE LIGHT came to Earth 2,000 years ago, the darkness rejected him. That struggle continues today...so we will leave our light on while we still can.Wow. What a witness this family is choosing to be to the families around them. They aren't participating in any of the parts of Halloween that could be considered ungodly, but they sure aren't shutting their door to anyone either.
This hit me like a ton of bricks.
What other time of year do people come knocking on our door?
Would Jesus have ever shut the door or ignored the knock if a pagan came knocking? Did He?
Here's Johanna's post from this morning.
Here is our Little House in the Big City all lit up for Halloween! Micah turned off every light in the house, read Ephesians 5:8-14 to the kids, explained about being light in a dark world, and then told them how we are to shine our lights bright for all to see. Then he had them race around the house, turning ON every single light bulb in the entire house. You could practically see the meter spinning! BUT, our very bright house on a very dark street brought in 30 kiddos, and our family had a great time greeting each child, handing out generous amounts of candy with a smile, and meeting new neighbors. Not bad for just moving here! Like we said, we don't celebrate Halloween, but we love on those who do.And I'm thinking even more now, that surely this family brought more ministry than mine did last night.
So next year, we'll be rethinking this whole business. I have some ideas rolling around and of course, they'll have to be run by my husband, but I'm praying that in a time of utter darkness, instead of shutting our door and turning off our lights, our family will be a light for Jesus.
Labels: Christian Life