Grace For The Journey
Halloween is rooted in and remains a pagan holiday. The ancient Catholic holiday of All Saints Day was November 1st, a day designated for the dead saints of the Catholic Church to be remembered and honored. And if the religious crowd was going to have a day for their dead saints, the pagans were going to have a special day, a holiday for “all things dead.” The night before All Saints Day, All Hallows Eve (Halloween) was designated the time for goblins, ghouls, ghosts, and gore to be proclaimed, praised, and venerated.
When I was young, Halloween meant little more than a nighttime walk through our neighborhood in a simple home-made costume, “trick-or-treating” at our neighbors’ homes. Today, however, Halloween has become a multi-billion dollar industry. I read one estimate that total spending on Halloween could reach $7 billion! Television networks and movie theaters feature horror movies throughout the month leading up to the “big” day. Entertainment opportunities are endless, from haunted houses to elaborate Halloween parties in homes and businesses.
So how should Christian believers respond to Halloween? By seeing the following . . .
1) The Gospel has set us free from superstition so that we can rest on revelation.
We are enlightened by the truths of the Gospel and empowered to live in its light. One of these truths is that the principalities and powers of darkness are no more active on Halloween than any other day of the year. Every day is a day that evil seeks to invade.
God says in Genesis 4:7, “Sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.”
And the Bible says in 1 Peter 5:8, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”
The Bible makes it clear that we Christians have a target on our backs that the devil is aiming at every day of the year. We need not be any more concerned on Halloween than we are on any other day of the year; we should be sober-minded and watchful 365 days a year!
2) We need to remember that the devil is a defeated foe.
The Bible teaches that the devil is a defeated foe. The Bible says in Colossians 2:15, “Having disarmed the powers and authorities, [God] made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.”
The devil is disarmed and defeated, but He is still doing everything he can to destroy, disrupt, and defeat what God is doing and wants done in His people’s lives. The Good News is that the Bible reveals God is actually using Satan’s evil to advance the cause of the Kingdom of God. This keeps us from locking ourselves behind our doors on Halloween for fear of the devil and his minions. Police statistics make it clear that incidents of satanic-associated crime remain about the same throughout the year.
Another danger of Halloween is from the social problems that attend sinful behavior – parties with inappropriate behavior, pranksters, drunk driving, vandals, and sadly, something that is on the rise in this culture: unsupervised children. And this is where the Gospel comes in.
3) The Christian community is to respond to Halloween with Gospel-saturated compassion and concern for the unbelieving, Christ-rejecting world.
Opportunities for evangelism are endless! Some churches hold “Harvest Festivals” as alternatives to the traditional Halloween activities. They invite neighborhood families and share the love of Christ. Costumes are friendly and the only ghost is Holy.
Certainly, churches and individual Christians are not focus in any way on Satan, death, occultism, divination, and the portraying of spirits returning to haunt the living with grotesque costumes or appearance, displays, or activities.
Some Christians adopt a “no participation policy” when it comes to Halloween. Entire families shun the evening: they don’t allow their children to trick-or-treat; they don’t give out candy; they don’t attend an alternative Christian event. While some Christians judge this “abstinence” with raised eyebrows, this posture has also opened doors for evangelism, as parents explain their Christian motivation to curious unbelievers.
The Good News of the Gospel is that our dark, superstitious, and pagan world, God mercifully shines the light of the gospel. Christian parents should be teaching their children (age appropriately) that:
- There is a spiritual world filled with goodness from God and evil from Satan (Ephesians 2:1-10);
- Life in Christ has power over darkness (1 John 4:4); and
- Those who celebrate Halloween either are unaware of its roots, or are intentionally promoting a world where evil is lauded and viewed as an ultimate power.
To counter the evil influence of Halloween, we need to join together and celebrate the reality of the heroic efforts of Christian saints over the evil in their day. Many leaders in the past and present have fulfilled the mandate of destroying the works of the devil through their sacrificial commitment to Christ and His Kingdom.
Rather than “hide” in the face of evil, we should unabashedly and boldly create an alternative that is positive and uplifting; that celebrates good over evil and the triumph of God over Satan. We need to provide an environment that also makes room for heaps of fun while using the day as a “teachable moment” to celebrate God’s protection, provision and purpose for our lives.
We are called to make a difference in this world by being different from this world, and one great vehicle for showcasing our love for Christ is how we choose to engage with the world during Halloween. As Christians you and I are placed in this world to be a light in a world of darkness. There is no lasting benefit to ignore a holiday that exists around us, but it also does harm to celebrate Halloween as it has originated and grown over the centuries.
This is God’s Word For Today … This Is Grace For The Journey
Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!
Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”
Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”