All Hallow’s Eve

5 Nov

"Wicked" - or so the Trick-or-Treaters told me ;~)A sign of the season - Halloween is upon us!It’s that time of year again.  Time for all of the spooks to come out.  It’s time for parents to get their kids dressed in costumes that probably won’t last the night in order to go around their neighborhood to collect candy that the kids really don’t need. It’s also that time of year where Christians wage their battle against Satan and all of his demonic forces.  It’s Halloween time!

My wife and I grew up celebrating Halloween.  I remember wearing the masks that you could not breathe out of and walking around my neighborhood to get candy.  I would also go with my cousin around my aunt’s neighborhood to get candy as well.  It was double Halloween for me!  So, since we both grew up celebrating Halloween, we wanted to keep the tradition alive with our kids.  We have taken our kids out Trick or Treating for the last seven years.  My wife does an awesome job making costumes for them every year.  They always look great!

Some Christians look at Halloween as a pagan holiday that invites the forces of Satan to wreak havoc on the world.  Now, I will agree that there is some crazy stuff that goes on every Halloween, but is it any worse than what goes on any given day in our crazy, fallen world?  Probably not.

We live in a society that is increasingly viewing the Church and Christianity as ancient and outdated.  They are looking at Jesus as a cool guy, but someone irrelevant to their lives.  Christians are seen more for what they are against than who they are for.  We spend more time being the moral police or shutting people out than we do making disciples.  We refuse to acknowledge that Halloween exists, yet we will put on harvest parties where we allow the kids to dress up in their costumes as long as the costumes are not scary.  I’m not saying those parties are bad.  Our church used to do one every year and it was awesome!  What I’m saying is that it is time to stop taking such hard line stands against something that is not inherently evil.

We view Halloween as a pagan holiday, but it’s origins are not pagan.  All Hallowed’s Eve first appeared in the fourth century when the Church would remember those who had died for the faith.  They would commemorate these saints, so that others could see what it took to follow Christ.  Over the centuries people began to add other elements to this and it turned into the holiday we know today.  Many of the things that we are familiar with like pumpkins, costumes, and trick or treating are fairly modern ideas (appearing within the last half century).

Since we live in a post-Christian society, we have to stop acting like we live in a Christian one.  We have to stop preaching that America was founded on Christian principles.  We need to live in the culture we are surrounded by.  We are still called to be holy.  We cannot let the culture force us to compromise the Gospel, which some churches have done.  But, we can use cultural norms as bridges or tools to communicate the Gospel.  For example, the last two years my church has done a Trunk or Treat in our parking lot.  People from our church dress up and decorate the trunks of their cars to give out candy to neighborhood kids.  It’s been a great success the last two years and we have a lot of fun doing it.  The purpose of it is to give kids a safe place to go trick or treating and to show families the love of Christ.

If you are anti-Halloween, you obviously have your reasons and convictions and I totally respect that.  The purpose of this blog post is to challenge all of us to rethink the way we do things as Christians.  We need to take a hard look in the mirror and figure out if our actions are leading others to Christ or pushing them further away.  I’m not saying that dressing up in costumes and giving out candy is going to lead someone closer to Christ.  But, if we are going to reach a post-Christian society, then we have to rethink the way we do things.  We need to start using any avenue or tool to bring people to Christ rather than pushing people away from Him.

Halloween is not the devil’s holiday.

He is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour (I Peter 5:8) EVERY DAY not just on certain holidays.

Therefore, let us use Halloween as an opportunity to preach our King rather than our enemy.  Let us preach Christ more on Halloween than we do Satan.  Satan doesn’t need that much attention, but our King deserves it all because of what he did for us and the world.

Ryan Revelry - familyRyan Revelry is the husband of an amazing wife, Allie, and the father of three great boys, Caedmon, Shepherd, and Rex.  He is the senior pastor of Matthews Memorial Church in Chelmsford, MA.  He is also the chaplain for the Lowell Spinners, the single A club of the Boston Red Sox.  He is a big sports fan, rooting for the Atlanta Braves, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Bears, and Boston Bruins.  He loves reading, superheroes, and reading about superheroes.

Photo courtesy of Laura Wagner Photography.

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