As we enter the month of October, some of you may already be thinking about Halloween. I have spent plenty of time over the years on my front porch handing out candy to princesses, fire fighters, scary monsters, witches, star wars characters, Winnie the Pooh, and the list goes on. I have fond memories of trick or treating and fall festivals at church when I was growing up. Overall, I am convinced that most folks celebrate Halloween out of a spirit of good fun and enjoyment. My purpose is not to be critical of those who enjoy Halloween. However, I think most would agree that Halloween does include an element of darkness: death, monsters, skeletons, ghosts, witches, tombstones, etc. I am expecting any day now for the graveyard to go up in my neighbor’s front yard down the street! In its essence, Halloween is a holiday that tends to “make fun” of the darkness, that is, unless it is deliberately “sanitized” at a church fall festival through the exclusion of its “scarier” elements. No matter how you may choose (or not choose) to celebrate Halloween, the holiday does serve as a reminder of several important Christian themes.
# 1 – Sin and Death are real. Christ is the answer.
We live in a sinful and fallen world where bad things do happen. Evil is real. People die. Sin and death entered the world when Adam sinned against God. The impact of Adam’s fall into sin continues to impact the human race negatively to this very day through the presence of sin, suffering, disease, and death. In the Bible, we are not instructed to be on the lookout for ghosts, ghouls, and goblins, but instead to “be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Peter 5:8) The good news is that although sin and death are real, Christ Jesus our Lord has conquered both. On the cross, Jesus shed blood provided the way that we can be forgiven and reunited in relationship with Holy God. At the tomb, Jesus rose again from the dead as a first fruit of the resurrection that his followers can also expect to participate in at the end of this age. Jesus is the answer to life’s toughest problems!
# 2 – The Devil and demonic realm are real.
We as Christians must be careful that we do not tolerate habitual sin or dabble in things that would open doors for Satan’s influence in our lives. Special caution is in order as it relates to involvement with the occult, non-Christian religions, as well as an openness to the spiritual realm that does not include the guidance and oversight of God’s Written Word, the Bible. Through God’s grace and by the empowerment of the Spirit, our devotion and obedience to Christ serves as a canopy of protection over us in this spiritually fallen world. Would we as Christians flee from the evil influences that this world offers us, and instead flee to the cross of Christ, the true source of our spiritual protection.
# 3 – It is OK for Christians to have fun.
Maybe Halloween serves as a reminder to us that it is OK to have fun. It is a blessing to see the beautiful boys and girls dressed up and having the time of their lives! Some will ask whether it is OK for Christians to participate in such a “dark” holiday. Equally sincere Christians have disagreed on the response to this question. As guided by the Spirit and the Word, I will allow you to come to your own conclusion.
In Christ we find light shining in a dark world, holding forth promise for Christians of a world to come where there will be no more darkness. Walk in His wonderful light and you will enjoy peace and joy in this dark and sinful world.
Blessings in Christ, Mark