Happy Halloween?

Ah Halloween. One of the most controversial days among the Christian community. People on both sides get so prickly and up-in-arms over it. We decided, from the beginning, that we would participate in this holiday. Why? Because we weren't allowed to celebrate it growing up and it didn't sit well with us. Oh sure, our church hosted an alternative where everyone had a good time and went home with a moderate amount of candy. Our parents tried to make it so we didn't feel like we'd missed out. But it still never felt right, but we couldn't articulate why.

Fast forward to our first Halloween at our new house, 6 years ago. We were delighted to take our boys out, house to house to house, chatting with our neighbors, learning their names, meeting their families, making connections. After everyone made the rounds with their kids, they ended up at a particular neighbor's house who had a bonfire going. Tables were laden with food. People stood around, laughing, talking, getting to know each other. Connecting and investing in each other's lives. These neighbors were unbelievers. Contrast that with some of the Christians we knew who were huddled in their darkened houses, shut off from the world, patting themselves on the back for saving $20 on candy. WWJD?

I don't think Jesus would be scared of or threatened by Halloween. I think he would drag his firepit around to his driveway, put out some lawn chairs, plunk down a honkin' bowl of candy, and visit with his neighbors, ooh and aah over the children. Oh, I'm not saying his lawn would be decorated in a sea of kitschy junk. Or that he would have done anything to break the bank. But I also cannot imagine him huddled in his house, with the porch light off, watching reruns of Dragnet, just waiting for the night to end. I cannot imagine he would have passed on the opportunity to spend time with those around him. To be light in a dark world.

Christians are called to be in the world, but not of it. And maybe that doesn't always look the way we think. How can we be light if we are hidden away? How can we be salt if we refuse to mingle? What if we are so focused on doing the right thing, that we completely miss the heart of the message and the messenger? Are we too focused on religion that we neglect to be mindful of others? Are we too set on getting our kids to as many houses so they grab as much loot as possible?

Maybe there's room for a third option? Maybe we can reclaim Halloween as a time to connect with people. To develop relationships. To be a family that values their community and isn't afraid to jump in. To meet the people around us where they are.

Happy Halloween!


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