What do haunted houses, witches, tombstones, jack-o-lanterns, black cats, and candy have in common? Halloween!
When you really think about it, Halloween is probably one of the weirdest holidays we celebrate in America. What other time of the year do people dress up like zombies, make their homes look like graveyards, and try to scare each other going door-to-door looking for candy? It’s weird!
It’s no secret that Halloween has its roots dating back to the ancient Celtics and their pagan views about the spirit world and afterlife. Simply Google “History of Halloween” and you will find more than you ever wanted to know about its origins and evolution. The bottom line, Halloween is anything but Christian. So what does that mean for Christians today? Should Christians be participating in Halloween? It seems like a no-brainer, right?
Well not so fast, let me suggest a couple of things to consider:
1. Don’t Be Spooked by Halloween!
1 Corinthians 15:55 – “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Throughout scripture, we are informed about a spiritual battle that is taking place between the forces of darkness (i.e. Satan) and the Lord. We also know Jesus has won the battle at the cross and provides that same victory to every Christian. Therefore, Christians don’t need to be afraid of the forces of darkness because we are protected in Christ (c.f. 1 John 4:4). So even though Halloween may have pagan roots and some evil traditions, Christians don’t need to be afraid, run, or hide. No matter how spooky Halloween may seem to you, don’t be spooked, Jesus has you covered!
2. It’s Time to Highjack Halloween!
Matthew 5:14-16 – You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
You may not know this, but almost every holiday that Christians celebrate contains some sort of ancient pagan influence. Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s Day, New Year’s, and even birthdays all contain pagan practices. This is because Christians highjacked (in a good way) a pre-existing pagan holiday and “Christianized” it. They shined the light of Jesus right in the middle of a dark celebration. This is why we have a hard time making a connection between Jesus and Christmas trees or the Resurrection and an Easter bunny. These are still some of the harmless leftovers from pagan celebrations.
For some reason, Halloween has been slow on the highjacking curve. There have been alternatives to Halloween (e.g. harvest festivals, Fall carnivals, etc.), but these seem to avoid Halloween rather than shine a light on it. It seems that if we are really going to make a difference, we must integrate not avoid. This is good missional thinking, right?
For Halloween, the mission field is right outside your front door in your neighborhood. This Halloween, people will be walking up and down the street, knocking on each other’s doors, handing out candy, and interacting with each other. This is not the time for you to leave and go to an alternative gathering. Think about it, when does this ever happen?
Halloween is a huge outreach opportunity to stay at home and be intentional for Jesus! I have found it to be an awesome experience and a way to build relationships, invite people to church, reconnect later, etc. So don’t go dark but shine the light for Jesus this Halloween! Below are a couple of suggestions that I’ve tried and may help you be intentional.
- Set up an outdoor “Greeting Station” on your driveway. (Table, chairs, etc.)
- Hand out “generous” quantities of candy to the children who are trick or treating.
- Provide free coffee, cider, hot chocolate, etc. for parents walking w/children.
- Proactively introduce yourself, engage in conversations, and build relationships.
- Hand out church invite cards or talk about the Lord if the opportunity arises.
- Pray, ask God for divine opportunities, have fun, and watch God work!
Hopefully, the people you meet will lead to having follow-up meetings, BBQ’s, and discussions in the future. God will provide the opportunities; we just need to be intentional.
Note: If you’re a parent walking your child around the neighborhood to trick or treat, the same intentionality can be true for you as well. Introduce yourself, make conversation, look for future opportunities to invite or reconnect, and see how the Lord may work.
So let’s shine the light this Halloween and highjack it for Jesus. Happy Halloween!
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