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THE RIVER BY JORDAN FELIZ
Halloween is right around the corner… I think I have gone through all the phases of Halloween in my Christian walk. I’ve ignored it, only participated in church events and have turned out the porch light early so I could still take some of the good candy for myself.
I am always game for a challenge… that’s where Pastor Jim Crews of Valley Bible Fellowship in Las Vegas comes in. Who knew that Halloween just might be the best day of the year to connect with our neighbors and show them love… ß Did I really just say that out loud? You’ll understand how I came to that conclusion after checking out what Pastor Jim had to say about Halloween…
From Pastor Jim's blog and used with his permission... http://www.vbflv.org/now-christian-celebrate-halloween/
Question – Now that I am a Christian, should I celebrate Halloween?
I want to answer this question very carefully because I do not want people to misunderstand me. Many Christians vary in their opinion about whether it is right or wrong to participate in Halloween festivities. For most people, Halloween is nothing more than a mere tradition that they have celebrated since they were children. I have found that most people don’t even know how the whole thing started. I have also found that most people don’t care to know either. They just want to have a reason to change it up a little and play dress-up for a day.
For Christians, Halloween can be very tricky. On one hand, you have the reality that there are so many roots to the tradition of Halloween that are tied to sorcery, witchcraft, and devil worship, that it almost seems sacrilegious to even recognize such a day on the calendar. On the other hand, you have an amazing opportunity to reach people in your community that you normally don’t have contact with.
I believe my God is the redeemer of all things. I believe that Jesus’ main mission was to defeat the rulership of Satan in this world, so that the dominion of the earth might be handed back over to God and His kingdom. Through Jesus, things turn back to God’s original design and purpose. God is leading us back to Garden living. (I think it is so fitting that after His resurrection, Mary first had Him mistaken for the gardener.) Jesus has redeemed us so that this world might be given back over to God.
With this in mind, I don’t think it was ever God’s intention for us to run away or boycott everything that this world is celebrating. It is His intention for us to bring light to dark places so that people will see Him working through us.
I have talked to many folks about Halloween. Some Christians turn their lights off and refuse to answer the door to any trick-or-treater. Others take another approach by handing Christian tracts out instead of candy. Many Christians will just go to their church fun fair and leave their house and neighborhood altogether. With so many different views on this, who is right? Before you reach a conclusion, let’s review something.
How many evenings and nights do you have most of your neighborhood outside, even going as far as visiting your house and knocking on your door? Your answer is probably only once. People keep to themselves a lot more these days thanks to social media, video game consoles, and cable television. However, on October 31, most of your neighbors are trained by tradition that they are to be outside walking their neighborhood streets asking people for candy. Because of the scary times we live in with child abductions, most parents go around with their kids to do this. It has become a family affair. Now that I got you thinking about this, do you think you should run away and boycott this opportunity?
God would never want you to celebrate demons or worship the devil, but God will always want you to be light to the world. We are to be the same kind of light that Jesus was. That is exposing the hypocrisy of religion and loving sinners right where they are at. Jesus never beat down unbelievers. He loved them and went to their parties where they hung out. So given this opportunity on October 31, how can we be the light?
You may not agree with my answer, but I think the best way is not boycotting, nor is it handing them a tract instead of candy. I believe the best way to be the light and to redeem this day for God is to simply love on our neighbors. Don’t just hand them candy. Set up a jump house in your front yard. Kids will be drawn to that. Don’t just say “Hi, nice costume!” Put a table out in the front with a big jug of Hot Chocolate and/or coffee for the adults accompanying the little trick-or-treaters. Go the extra mile and connect with neighbors that you have never talked to since you moved in. Write their names down so you can begin to establish connection that will enable you to shine your light throughout the entire year.
Let’s use this day as another thing we can redeem for the King!
As far as playing dress up for a day, my opinion is God really doesn’t care, as long as what you wear is not offensive to another person. (See 1 Corinthians 8.) If you study the life of John the Baptist, you know he wore some pretty bizarre clothes everyday of his life. I think you have to use common sense on this one. Would God really want you dressed up in a skimpy costume where it may make some guys stumble? Would it be really edifying to dress up as a vampire, witch, or devil? I don’t think I really need to explain that any further.
Not everyone is going to agree with me on this, so please if you don’t agree, all I ask you to do is pray about how you are to handle this growing tradition. While you are praying about it, I will be out shining my light, hoping that a few little ghosts and superheroes are going to find Jesus through me making myself available to them in my own front yard.
Pastor Jim Crews