Much ink has been spilled- or, to use a more appropriately updated metaphor, many words have been typed– regarding the issue of Christians and our engagement with culture’s mega-popular fall holiday, Halloween. Some followers of Jesus ask, “What’s the big deal with costumes and candy?” Others, on the flip side, answer said question by citing their concerns about the holiday’s origins and overtones.
I’m fairly certain that I’m not going to say anything in this space that hasn’t already been said (and said well) on this issue, so rather than making an attempt, let me point you in the direction of some biblically solid, thought provoking resources. The best I’ve encountered recently can be found here. It is important to recognize that people seeking to faithfully follow Jesus have landed on both sides of this; we need not judge one another harshly, but instead seek to do whatever we can to “provoke one another to love and good deeds.” I encourage you to take some time to check the Scriptures, and the article linked above, and consider thoughtfully what your family ought to do this weekend.
For those of you who choose to celebrate this Saturday, we want to resource you to make the most of this opportunity to love, serve, and share Jesus with your neighbors. After all, as one friend recently quipped, “Halloween is the only day left in our culture where your neighbors willingly and eagerly come knocking at your door!” That being the case, how can you receive them with Gospel hospitality and intentionality? Check out this idea book filled with creative practical approaches to doing just that.
Whatever you do, remember this principle- Halloween (or any other day) isn’t about completing a project for some imaginary spiritual checklist, but rather about engaging people in genuine relationships. And trust me when I say that people know the difference! So be prayerful…be thoughtful…be authentic…have fun…and do everything you do from a heart rooted in genuine love, compassion, and concern.
For those of you who choose to do otherwise, consider this- How can you and your family faithfully and effectively love, serve, and share Jesus with your unbelieving neighbors in this season (and beyond)? Regardless of our convictions about certain days on the calendar, it is clear from God’s Word that all those who follow Jesus are called to live like missionaries every day of the calendar. Here are a couple ideas to get you started…
- Grab a rake. Many of your neighbors will spend their weekends cleaning up their lawns as the leaves begin to fall en masse (I still have nightmares about the masses of leaves I raked as a child!). Is there someone in your neighborhood who could use a helping hand? If so, put on your work clothes and lend one.
- Share fall flavors. I happen to love the flavors of fall- cinnamon this, pumpkin that, and the like. If it’s out there, I want to try it. I have a feeling I’m not the only one. So if you’ve got a knack for cooking up some autumn awesome-ness, don’t let your family be the only ones who benefit. Find a neighbor with whom you can share the goodness.
None of these ideas are particularly profound, but maybe that should tell us something about the nature of our mission as followers of Jesus. We aren’t called to be flashy or spectacular (and it’s a good thing, but most of us aren’t). Instead, we’re called to “turn on the lights” of love in a world that is increasingly darkened by the disorder, disunity, and decay that sin inevitably brings. So I challenge you, this week and beyond- How are you “lighting up” your neighborhood (and workplace, and school, and other circles of influence) and pointing people to Jesus?