Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Christians, What Will We Do About Halloween?



'Tis that time of year again.

In a matter of days we in the US will celebrate a day that most children look forward to and thoroughly enjoy, unless they have certain developmental or sensory issues. It is a day which festivities give dentists a huge opportunity to make massive profits off happy trick-or-treaters. It is a day that most adults tolerate "for the sake of the children to make them happy." It is not an official holiday but treated as one anyway. Yes, I'm talking about Halloween.

It has become a divisive topic in our Christian community. Should we Christians celebrate it or not?

That is a huge question. As Christ-followers, no action of ours is morally neutral. Even if we believe that what we are doing is not "black or white," to others watching us, it may be. From posts I see from brothers and sisters in Christ on Facebook, I observe that their commitment has convinced them that Halloween is displeasing to Christ and must not be celebrated in any way, even through participation in wholesome, imitation Halloween events like "trunk or treat." Many years ago, I read a book by an author whose family, upon becoming totally committed to Christ through the "Baptism of the Holy Spirit," (which included speaking in tongues and signs and wonders)refused to celebrate Halloween. Despite their explanations as to why they went against the grain of their culture, I thought that their commitment bordered on fanaticism. Now I realize that this family were willing to pat the price of following Christ even when it meant bucking cultural pressures to do so.

Christians, what ought we to do about this cultural pressure to "do the Halloween thing" because "everyone else is doing it?"

1). Remember that our first allegiance is to Christ and to His word, given in the Scriptures. True, God says nothing about Halloween in any part of His Word. But he says plenty, in both the Old and New Testament, about compromising with the world system, its values and its ways. In the West, the values of our culture consist of materialism, hedonism, and consumerism. Like any holiday, Halloween feeds these values as we have to spend money on Halloween festivities (though not nearly as much as Christmas) and then "have our Halloween fun" at designated places and especially on October 31. Do we want to go along with the world or be different and stand up for Christ?

2). We are to love others sacrificially, even when doing so will make us look a little nutty. Some people suffer or have suffered, satanic ritual abuse or have survived hellish experiences in satanic cults. Consider them this Halloween. They no doubt find this time of year to be a painful trigger for horrible memories. Some children have sensory issues that make Halloween festivities a difficult experience. They may opt not to wear costumes or even participate in this season. We ought to respect that and respect all families of children with special needs, who may even dread holidays, including Halloween. We are taking potential funds away from furthering Christ's cause on Earth or from those in need, by spending it on holiday festivities instead. At least, we can cut back for the sake of others. We are called to love!

3). We are ordered not to give Satan even a "foothold" in our lives. The occult and pagan roots of this holiday tell the Enemy of our souls, "We are setting aside a season and a day to dabble in your stuff!" Now isn't it? Think about it. Halloween may seem like "just harmless fun" but how may Stan view it? More important, how does God see it?

4). The Bible calls us to avoid even the appearance of evil. We are asked not to knowingly do anything that would "give offense" to anyone and that includes celebrating Halloween or other holidays when they can observe us. And more and more of our brothers and sisters in Jesus are against celebrating Halloween. And we are not to offend other religions either. If I'm not mistaken, Jehovah's Witnesses, who are against observing holidays or birthdays, no doubt do not celebrate Halloween either. In addition, we are not to do anything that would cause us to sin. Following Jesus will cost us. He promised it would!

5). This is not a call to reject Halloween altogether though I do not encourage anyone to engage in its festivities. I understand that we want our children to have fun on that day. The childlike among us may enjoy the holiday ourselves. We can still find ways to have our fun on that day or any time of the year, without spending money on festivities that could be saved or given to those in need of the Gospel message and/or the basics of life.

What will you do about Halloween?

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