Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Reclaim Halloween for the Lord

Each year, I attempt to "reclaim Halloween for the Lord." I have given out tracts and Bible verses attached to the candy in the past. While browsing the CBN website, I thought it might be nice to print up and include a prayer:


Dear Visitor,

I open my door and offer you and your loved ones two "treats." The first is this BIG candy bar, and the second is a prayer in my heart. I pray that God’s blanket of protection would be over so many little children on Halloween night.

Lord, may this year on Halloween night be one that is hallowed, a holy night to lift up your name and bless your little children all over the world.

In Jesus Christ's name I pray,

Amen



Last Tuesday, a fellow Bible study member shared with our group that she is involved with creating stretchy, lettered bracelets that say HOPE in block letters. She also includes a Scripture reference to one of the many Bible verses that express our hope in God and the Lord Jesus Christ. I asked her to make a bunch for me to give out with the candy on Halloween!

Halloween has never been my favorite holiday. I'll admit that I've gone through several phases (and attitudes) throughout my life. But once I became a committed Christian, dedicated to serving and pleasing the Lord, I really started to hate Halloween and all that it stood for.

Anyone remember that commercial for Quantas airlines? It's the one where the koala bear is pictured clinging to a tree. His thoughts are voiced over and we hear, "I hate Quantas."

Well, that was me every time I'd pass a Spencer's gifts store in October. The ugly, evil masks, faces and costumes would irk me! I'd say to myself, "I hate Halloween!" I have Christian friends who feel the same way.

But, as long as my kids (when they were younger, of course) wouldn't dress up in any costume that was evil, ugly or Satanic, then we would still go trick or treating and give out candy at our home.

A few times we attended our church's Autumnfest. I liked the fact that we were celebrating with fellow Christian believers during a holiday that is often claimed for, and loved, by the anti-God, paganistic, secular culture.

Some people (including Christians) don't think of Halloween that way. Traditionally, some have viewed it as more of a time to look at what frightens us, to experience it, to laugh at it, and to come through it.

O.K.

But the pagan roots of Halloween tell us a very different story. I won't bore you with the details, but perhaps when I have time later (or if any commenters want to do a search and post some links), I will locate some articles about it.

The question sometimes comes up in Christian circles, should the forces of evil be mocked? Should Satan be laughed at? If you have ever read C.S. Lewis' The Screwtape Letters, you would find that he seems to think so. In that book, Lewis includes two telling quotations, the first from Martin Luther:


"The best way to drive out the devil, if he will not yield to texts of Scripture, is to jeer and flout him, for he cannot bear scorn."


The second comes from Thomas More:


"The devil...the proud spirit cannot endure to be mocked."


I really appreciated reading the following excerpt from Dr. Rearick who was a professor at Mount Vernon Nazarene College at the time his article was published:


The one thing Satan cannot bear is to be a source of laughter. His pride is undermined by his own knowledge that his infernal rebellion against God is in reality an absurd farce. Hating laughter, he demands to be taken seriously. Indeed, I would say that those Christians who spend the night of October 31 filled with concern over what evils might be (and sometimes are...so I don't blame them one bit!) taking place are doing the very thing Lucifer wants them to do. By giving him this respect, such believers are giving his authority credence.

Not all believers should celebrate Halloween. For those who have been redeemed from the occult, Halloween in its foolishness may contain what was for them deadly seriousness. While their souls were in deadly peril, however, what they experienced were lies and illusions.

It is understandable that they look with horror upon what once enslaved them. Such sensitivity may be appropriate for them, but it is not (necessarily) appropriate for the majority of Christians. Holding their opinions as appropriate for most believers is like having a former bulimic dictate how Christians should regard church hot-plate socials.

Christians should instead celebrate Halloween with gusto. If we follow the traditional formula of having a good time at his expense, Satan flees.

If we give up All Hallows Eve, we lose the delight of God's gift of imagination and we condemn the rest of society to a darker Halloween because our laughter will not be there to make the devil run.


Please note that I am not telling any Christian believer what they should do or how they should act on the subject of Halloween. I just wanted to share that excerpt because I thought it covered a lot of differing beliefs on how one might want to look at the "celebration" of this "holiday."

As I said before, I'd rather not "celebrate" Halloween. But since it arrives every October 31st, I choose to reclaim Halloween for Jesus Christ. The HOPE bracelets that I will give out with the candy is just one small way that I can do just that.

5 comments:

Stephen said...

Yes! In this I agree with you!

Jesus overcame the powers and principalities of this world, I laugh at them, they have no power over me.

I don't really understand Americans and their fascination with Halloween, but it doesn't offend or upset me at all when done in the right spirit.

Christmas happens to be dated on what once was a pagan event. "All Saints Eve" (or "Hallow's Eve") is the Christian celebration that was scheduled to coincide with the pagan celebration that Halloween was based on.

Christians did this on purpose, so as to replace the events people were already celebrating with events centred on Christianity.

I don't see why we should be afraid of or even honour these dubious roots for celebrations whose meanings we have changed.

In love

Stephen

Stephen said...

BTW, that "Stephen" is not this one... Hope all is well Christine.

limpy99 said...

As I understand it, Halloween, (as the first Stephen), (but not the second one), said, is the Christian substitution for an old pagan tradition. I think it was called Samhain. Don't ask me to pronounce it. What I have read is that this was the day that it was believed the curtain between the world of the dead and living was at its thinnest, and the dead were able to cross over and walk among us. In order to keep them happy, the tradition was to leave some kind of food and drink at your hearth or door. The spirits, (or more likely the cat), would eat and drink those and move on, leaving the occupants unmolested.

All I know is tonight I have to escort a little vampire and a larger baseball player around the neighborhood in search of candy.

I get the Kit Kat bars.

Stephen said...

Indeed, Limpy, that my understanding of the original tradition.

However, as I said before, we have explicitly changed the meaning of this tradition.

There is no reason for us to feel "bound" by the original meaning of this tradition or to even acknowledge it.

Paul encouraged us not to be bound by silly superstition or "old wives' tales".

(the other) Stephen

Christinewjc said...

Hey Stephen B. and Irene,

Everything is going well with us. I'm concerned about the Nov. election though. I cringe every time I think about the possibility of Nancy Pelosi becoming the Speaker of the House!

Christine

P.S. Thanks again for you generous offer for Halloween gift ideas. It was so kind of you to be willing to ship them out if I needed them. As it turned out, the ones I chose to give out were well received last night!