October is nearly gone and when it goes, it will take with it the nippy, sweater-feel of Fall, the crisp smell of burning leaves, the wearing of short sleeves and the month’s swan song, Halloween. Halloween is celebrated annually on October 31. It has roots in the Gaelic festival of Samhain and the Christian holy day of All Saints. The term Halloween, originally spelled Hallowe’en, is shortened from All Hallows’ Even – dropping the v, e’en is a shortening of even, which is a shortening of evening, derived from an Old English word, now known as All Saints’ Day.
The day is strongly associated with ghosts and goblins, witches and warlocks, devils and demons, and symbols like the jack-o-lantern, black cats and skeletons. This gives the holiday an ominous, dark overtone cloaked with mysterious connotation. Halloween activities have evolved to include wearing costumes and trick-or-treating, attending costume parties, ghost stories around bonfires, visiting haunted attractions, pranks and watching horror films.
It is mainly celebrated secularly, but some have expressed strong feelings about perceived religious overtones. Fostering that ideology, some mainline Christian denomination churches sponsor Hell Houses, which depict elements of depravity in a sinful society. They stress the need for obvious salvation and deliverance from the devil, himself.
Ironically, some denominations hide on Halloween. They close their doors, pull the shades and turn off the lights. It sounds like some people’s homes on the 31st. John 12:46 reads like this, “I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness.
For years, the “Church” has distanced itself from Halloween, when in fact, it was originally a Christian holiday. C’mon, people…can’t we all just get along? Isn’t this just black and white, like night and day, dark and light, good and evil?
If people who profess to be righteous, (which brings to mind the term self-righteous, which isn’t righteous at all, because true righteousness comes from Christ, not self, so there’s no compliment in being called such) point their finger at churches, for carving jack-o-lanterns and welcoming secular celebrations, would realize that three of their fingers are pointing directly back at themselves when they are critical of others, perhaps the finger-pointing would cease.
If you claim to be a Christian, shouldn’t you stop wasting precious time, and start reaching out, instead of folding your arms in disgust? “You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” – Matthew 7:5. Light the night! God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all. – 1 John 1:5.
Traditionally, in America, Halloween has been a holiday for children. This year, it is estimated that the number of potential trick or treaters, ages 5 to 14, to be 41 million. As a Children’s Pastor, I felt it was my responsibility to invite the community into the church…not only to share a night of fun and fright, but, to allow the kids to enjoy Halloween in a safe, controlled environment. Parents, we need to educate our children on the origin and traditions of the holiday and allow them to ask questions. More importantly, be prepared to answer any questions your children have. Halloween is what we make it!
Now, do we condone a Quija Board and its use, by handing out candy to children at our front doors? No! Are we in bed with Anton LeVay and the Satanic church by carving a jack-o-lantern? Seriously? No! Jesus came, “…to seek and to save that which was lost.” – Luke 19:10.
As Christians, we are His hands and His feet and it is our responsibility to share Christ’s love with the world. So, with those hands…hug your children, help them get dressed in the most outrageously frightful costume ever and hand out candy with a smile at your front door on Halloween. And, with those feet…take your children trick-or-treating! Go promote your local church, school or community gathering and all their festivities. Take a large container of candy to your church, or any church that is putting on a Halloween program. Encourage the good fun and excitement the season can bring. Don’t discourage childhood experiences. How can a child learn unless we teach them? Memories like these cannot be made when your children are grown and out of your house.
“Nothing you do for children is ever wasted.”, Garrison Keillor.
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