I don’t get it
October 31st! A day filled with cool weather, candy and little goblins, ghosts and devil’s running through the neighborhoods! The street that I live on has already been decorated with gravestones, witches, dead people (mannequins of course) and bones. Continue walking a bit and you will notice a few heads and some fake flesh hanging from the trees. Apparently, if this seems strange to you, then you are in a very small minority of people like myself. Now, before you quit reading, don’t get upset with me. I am not saying that you don’t have the freedom to go out and celebrate Halloween. I am not saying that it is a sin if you walk up and down the streets and give and receive candy. I am not saying that you are participating in the ancient Celtic pagan religious festival of Samhain (most believers know nothing about the roots of Halloween anyway). I am not accusing you of any of that. I realize that God’s people have taken many pagan religious holidays and redeemed them including Christmas! I guess the reason that it all seems quite odd to me still (again, I realize I am a very small minority) is that I can’t find anything appealing or redemptive about it. Again, don’t think that I am trying to rain on your parade. I am humble and open to learn, grow and even understand why believers enjoy it so much. Up until this point in my life though I just don’t get it. Below are a couple of short reasons why, and a nutshell of what my family does on October 31st.
Death isn’t funny to me
Have you lost a loved one? Most likely you have at some point if you are old enough to read this. Every time that I have experienced the death of a loved one, it has been a very difficult experience. If they died separated from God because of their denial of the gospel they are eternally separated from the Lord. The scriptures speak of torment of those who die without Christ. Jesus specifically gives a parable to illustrate the torment involved for those who die without knowing God (Lk. 16). Seeing a kid dressed in his best impression of the devil or one of his minions is less than appealing to me. Death, hell, suffering and torment are real, they aren’t jokes that we make from a Hollywood horror film. “Death is the last enemy to be destroyed.” (I Cor. 15:26). Death is an enemy according to the scriptures and a constant reminder of our fallen state. For the wages of sin is death! The death of this fallen world will be swallowed up in light and life in the end. I don’t want to celebrate death, but life!
“Trick or Treat”
Winslow, it’s just a saying! But think about it. Give me a treat or I will trick you. Now, I know that those words really mean “give me some candy.” No one really intends on playing a trick on you (I don’t think anyway), but why should my kids ask this random stranger for candy? Why is that not odd? Why on November 1st would it be completely weird to ask my neighbor for candy, but not the day before? Like, what is the meaning of it all? Is the candy to appease the witch so that she won’t cast a spell on me or set my lawn on fire? Why does she deserve a treat from an unknown person? Am I missing something? How does any of this make sense? Many try to use this night as a witnessing opportunity. Does it seem strange to try to convert Lucifer to the gospel as you hand him candy and a gospel tract? You reason to yourself, “maybe the guy with the sword stuck through his head will take me more serious.” Ok, I am being facetious but does any of this resonate with someone? If not, I am happy to be a loner on this one until convinced.
An Alternative on the same day?
Ok, October 31st, 1517 Luther nailed his 95 theses to the castle church door in Wittenberg, Germany. These 95 theses or complaints were written to expose the abuses of the catholic church of the day. These complaints were taken off of the church door down to a printing press and spread all over Europe leading to the Reformation of the church. The gospel began to be preached with great clarity in Germany and surrounding countries. Many of the denominational churches that still exist today were formed close to this period of history. At our house we celebrate Reformation Day each year on the 31st. We play games, we make popcorn balls, eat candy, we read stories and watch movies about Martin Luther and talk about the gospel. It is truly an enjoyable evening that is special for our family and others who share it with us. If you are looking for an alternative and would like to join us, let me know, we would love to have you over. If you want to do something with your own family similar to what we do, simply type “Reformation Day activities” into your search engine and look at the plethora of things there are out there.
Have a safe October 31st!
One thought on “Halloween: I don’t get it”
Pastor Martin, I totally agree with what you said here. We unthinkingly go along with traditions without knowing the what or why. I’m very turned off by some of the death culture that appears on our neighborhood lawns increasingly every year. Death isn’t funny. Threats aren’t either. An excuse to vandalize is just wrong.
I might like to join you, if you aren’t already overloaded with takers for the 31st.