Sometimes as a Christian we are faced with a choice that is hard and sometimes even very unclear as to the right thing to do. Then added to that struggle is the fact that we don’t have an exact verse in scripture to tell us what our decision should be. For example, it is very clear in scripture and very easy to understand that Exodus 20:15 instructs us that to take an item that is not ours would be a sin. There is not any amount of interpretation involved in understanding that verse. Stealing is wrong.
However, in this life all decisions and circumstances are not as laid out and clear. Halloween is a great example of this. More to the point should we as Christians take part in Halloween? Well, because of the nature of this blog I am not going to answer this question for you. This will be something that you and God are going to have to determine for your own household what the right thing to do is. I will however briefly discuss both sides and then provide you with my own personal household’s decision. My goal is simply to bring to light our motives as Christians for our actions so that we don’t blindly go through this life but we intentionally walk as a reflection of God.
First, let us deal with the origin of the Holiday itself. It dates back over 2000 years ago to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain. The Celts, whom the festival originated with, lived in the areas now known as Ireland, UK, and parts of France. They celebrated their new year on November 1st, thus designating the 31st of October as the end of the harvest and the start of cold winter, days with more darkness (lack of sunlight), and a time of year that was associated with human death. The Celts believed that this one night of the year was a boundary between the living and the dead. The festival of Samhain was believed to be when ghosts of the dead returned to earth which allowed the Celtic priests also known as Druids to communicate through them to predict the future. The celebration consisted of burning crops and animals as sacrifices on altars that were constructed to honor the Celtic deities. As with other holidays that we observe the Catholic Church would later step in and attempt to replace the holiday with a “Church-sanctioned” holiday and therefore made a holiday named All Saints day celebrating the religious dead. The term All Saints Day is also known as All-hallows Eve; which is where we get the modern name Halloween from. American culture has really taken the holiday to make it more of a day of fun and fantasy that its origin would depict. Americans all over this great country will dress up as their favorite heroes, characters, fantasies, and even in some cases favorite Bible characters. They will travel door to door to receive prizes, candy, and all sorts of different “treats”.
Now that we understand the origin lets discuss the different thoughts on it from a Christian perspective. This among a few other holidays (Easter, Christmas) can spark a wide variety of debates in the church of what is right and what is wrong. As even I definitely had a view that some would say is somewhat legalistic, although in preparing for this blog I was confronted with what is God’s heart on this matter more so than what is my heart on it. One viewpoint that Christians will take is that it is the “Devil’s Holiday” meaning that it is all evil and there is nothing about God in this day. And they will quote I Peter 5:8 saying that we must be aware of the Devil as he is “…prowling like a roaring lion waiting to devour…” and that is true but partly taken out of context when used for one specific event as that is not exactly what Peter was addressing as he was writing that letter. They will also quote 1 Thessalonians 5:22 which states that we should “…abstain from every form of evil” which is definitely true however again if taken out of context could be used for anything from smoking to diet soda to certain types of food or to even TV and computers. However, there are some that will dismiss all of this all together and say that they is nothing demonic about the holiday and that it is all harmless fun and that there is nothing wrong with dressing up and going around to the neighbor’s house to collect candy. I believe that this however is just as incorrect as the previous.
We as Christians must constantly be evaluating our lives through the context and through the “lenses” of the Bible. We must look at this the way that God would look at this. We must seek His will and His heart on the matter instead of trying to draw legalistic lines in the sand that make us feel better about us and that we are doing something right and that somehow makes us closer to God. Remember that the only thing that has made us right with God is faith in Jesus. If we are a follower of Jesus Christ (meaning we have faith in Him and surrendered our life to Him and understand that apart from Him as Savior we are going to be separated from God for eternity upon death) then we must evaluate everything that we do through His eyes. The only way to know this is to be in the Word every day and to spend time with Him every day. And in Psalm 24:1 it tell us this:
“The Earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein…” ESV
Which means simply this: God is in control of all of this! There is not a day that is not His. There is not anything that goes on that is not under His authority. Does He allow things to go on that are displeasing to Him? Sure. But we must look at the world as He does, it is filled with people who He desires to reach and bring closer to Him.
So the Harrison household is taking a different approach this year. We are still not going to participate in Halloween festivities like dressing up and going door to door. We are not going to hang decorations or attend any parties that are specifically Halloween “get togethers”.
We are however going to hand out candy to everyone that comes to our door. We are also going to give them a flashlight that says “Jesus is the light” and we are going to take the opportunity to tell them about Jesus. The reason that we are going to do this is because this might be the only chance that we get to speak to these kids and parents about Jesus. Look at it this way we are constantly trying to find time to go out into the community to share the love of Jesus with our neighbors and this one night we don’t have too…They are going to come to us! So let’s make it count Christians!! So even though I am still not a big fan of Halloween I am a HUGE fan of spreading the Gospel to those that don’t know Jesus. So this Holiday season I want you to be careful but more importantly I want you to be intentional!