Friday, October 29, 2004

Halloween...for me.

Halloween. Again? Already? As has been for the past few years, I find myself torn regarding the celebration of Halloween. I know that there are those who feel very convicted when it comes to this day and whether or not it should be celebrated by Christians. There are two groups who have strong arguments regarding the holiday, for and against. Then there are those who are like me.

I have to admit I hold some nostalgia for the whole ordeal. I like watching the Charlie Brown special. I like to see what the kids are wearing this year. I like to see their excited faces, all dressed up playing pretend and collecting candy! I like to see doors open and porch lights on. With leaves on the ground when it's starting to get darker earlier, I like to see neighbors opening their homes to each other before we nestle in for a long winter.

Part of me wants to agree with Christians that participate in some form or another who like to approach it as a sort of take-back-the-day approach, opting to arrange and participate in alternatives that glorify God. Remembering saints, celebrating reformation day, or using the night when people are coming to your door to evangelize from the comfort of your own home.

I've argued these all myself. In the church I grew up in, we were told to put a "NO CANDY. GOD BLESS YOU" sign on our door on Halloween. So we did, hiding behind closed shades and turning off our lights, watching the trick or treaters going by, seeing them run up our porch steps and turn away disappointed. We who are the light of the world, I would think would on this night especially, turn our porch lights on and use this night as an opportunity to truly shine to our neighbors. Instead we appeared stingy, unfriendly and closed off from the rest of the world.

So I've considered giving out candy, letting my daughter play dress up, as she so likes to do, and greet all of the kids that come to our door. Then I think about all of the older kids who dress like monsters, witches, ghouls, vampires and all of the horrific costumes you see in the catalogs and at the mall. And I know I really don't want to introduce my 2 year old to all of that yet.

And so, as an adult, this brings me to the reality that there is a very dark and present side to Halloween. One verse really plays and replays itself in my mind: "Abstain from all appearance of evil." (I Thessalonians 5:22) I know that many in our own congregation consider Halloween to be off limits, and if we participate in any alternative we will still likely appear to them as participating in evil. So I feel that in an attempt not to offend our brethren, the choice is made for us and we are left without any options or outlets.

Now truly, I have a few bags of candy in the closet and could hand them out if I really wanted to. I do live by my own free will. But there's still that nagging feeling that holds me back. Is that you conviction?

Whatever you do this weekend, I only encourage you to do it in the name of the Lord and glorify him in all things.

God Bless you all!