I have a confession to make.
I hate Halloween. I mean, I really HATE it.
I hate gory costumes. I hate haunted houses. I hate the celebration of death.
As a Christian, I love life. Everything I do should celebrate the life I’ve been given, and the life Christ lived. Jesus came so that I may have life. (John 10:10)
But my family has made the decision to “do” Halloween each year. I’ll stop short of saying we “celebrate” Halloween. But we have decided to participate in it.
We stay home, open our front porch and hand out hundreds of pieces of candy. Our block is busy! It is a steady stream of parents sipping hot cocoa, and kids waddling down the block in plastic Power Ranger masks looking for the bite-size Kit-Kat bars.
This is why we participate.
We need to be madly in love.
The main reason we do Halloween is because we believe that our love for our neighbors needs to be greater than our hate of the tradition.
If we are to love our neighbors the way Jesus loves, than we need to be MADLY in love with them. And if we are madly in love with our neighbors, why would we shut our doors and turn out the porch light on the one night of they year they are all ringing our doorbell, and inviting us to ring theirs?
This doesn’t mean we are handing out Bible tracts (I don’t fault those who do… just make sure you attach a nice Snickers bar to mine). But we are spending time in the street having conversations with friends, hanging out with the kids and participating in one last event before we all hibernate for the winter.
When I take advantage of opportunities like this to build those relationships, then the rest of my conversations throughout the year will be more natural. I will have permission to speak into their lives as they need it.
My kids need to learn how to engage the world
My parenting may be a bit unique here, but I’ve decided that preparing my kids to make an impact on their world is more important than protecting them. We talk about this as a family. They understand why I don’t like Halloween, and they understand why we participate. This is all about building relationships with people we are madly in love with.
We talk about evil. We talk about death. And, we talk about God’s victory over death. This is a great time to bring these issues up.
My God is bigger than pagan tradition.
In Acts 17, the apostle Paul stood up in the Areopagus in Athens. Prior to his speaking, Paul took in their items of worship that were displayed. One was inscribed “To an unknown God”. Paul took that moment to use their pagan item of worship as a connecting point to the Gospel of Christ. He took that opportunity to tell them about their unknown god.
In the same way, I need to use this opportunity to find ways to make those connection points with my neighbors.
In Matthew 5, Jesus says,
“You are the light of the world. A town built 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 others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Ephesians 5 goes on to show us the power of “light” over “darkness”. “Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”
If my life is to involve shining a light, then what better night to do it than the darkest night of the year?
“[Make] the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil” – Ephesians 5:16.
I’ll admit. We still wrestle with this as a family. And I have a LOT of respect for the many parents who approach this differently. We are all trying to do our best to train and equip our kids. I’d love to hear how your family has wrestled with these issues.