You knew it was coming. I’m not the likely candidate to avoid the Halloween topic, as volatile as it can become. You’re probably either ready to jump on my bandwagon or be very angry and offended with my perspective. Hopefully this leaves you feeling neither of those. I have no pulpit to pound, but we are usually a little abnormal in our choices, and this holiday is no exception.
For many people I have known, this is a very confusing topic. Especially as young moms there can be a conflict of wanting our kids to participate in the fun that comes along this time of year but also feeling in our spirits a little compromise of focus, a little dissension between what we are about and what surrounds us through the month of October. Then, for some there is no sense of conflict. No harm done, just a little fun. Some avoid the scary, some avoid the word Halloween, some avoid the costumes, some avoid the candy…avoid or embrace? But maybe the question is not to avoid or embrace. Jesus came so that we always have a third option, what about REDEEM?
I blogged on this subject a few years ago as my oldest became old enough to be aware of what was going on and we began to discuss our stance. It hasn’t really been complicated or difficult to decide for us because we took it through the same grid we take every other day and every other holiday. We try with all of our hearts to make every day in this house about Jesus. We are His. Our interactions, our work, our school, our play, our relationships, our choices, our belongings, our lives. A holiday is just a special day, not a day to take a break from our daily focus, but instead to rejoice in an even more concentrated celebration of what is important to us every day. With most holidays this is quite simple. Not always easy when everything screams at you to put your focus elsewhere, but simple. Christmas is about the birth of Jesus. Santa, sleigh bells, getting presents, decorations, reindeer, and all the fun that goes with it has to come second to the focus. Easter is about His resurrection. Bunnies, candy, baskets, and eggs have to take a backseat. At Valentine’s we focus on the love of God and the love He gives us for each other, July 4th we talk about the freedom He has given us in this nation and that the most important freedom of all is in Christ Jesus. Like I said, simple. Then we arrive at Halloween. There is not the same “ready to use” focus on our Lord in this holiday. Ask any kid on the street what Halloween is about and you will hear candy, costumes, scary things, trick or treating, festivals…but good luck getting an answer that includes Jesus. I have seen many, many different ways of addressing this and always love to see God give creativity to a family within their lives for the best way for them to handle the “tricky” holiday.
As I prayed for creativity on this subject and the best way to redeem our focus, time, and opportunity for Him, He gave me an idea. The thing that caused me to want to turn away from the Halloween celebration was its focus on fear. Fear is not of God. All during the year, I choose with my children to look away from those things that cause fear and to set our minds instead on Christ. His blood and sacrifice is too precious to spend even a moment with our eyes on the very things He came to remove. Death, sin, evil, fear, darkness. “Perfect love casts out fear.” I John 4:18 But I don’t like to just remove things or run from them. God is not about removal but redemption, not fleeing but power over the obstacle. Then it hit me. I knew we would spend the whole month quoting our verses and choosing to think on what is pure and lovely (especially when our neighbors set out their full blown dead people crawling out of coffins scene in the front yard) so we would call our little celebration our “No Fear Party.” This will be our 5th and I can’t tell you what fun we’ve had with this celebration. The first year we had “no fear” because God is powerful and saves us. We dressed as animals on Noah’s ark and had Bible stories and snacks. Year two was “no fear” because God has super powers and we dressed as super heroes. Year three was “no fear” because God keeps us strong when we stick together and the kids were Mario, Luigi, and Princess Peach. Last year we had “no fear” because we have the armor of God and we had a scavenger hunt where they found their pieces of armor to wear as they used the verses they had memorized to answer the clues. This year’s theme is that we have “no fear” because God is leading our journey. The kids are dressing as a safari guide and animals and John V came up with the whole idea and planned it out. This is so fitting for where our family is right now and the year we have ahead of us. It is amazing to watch God put just the right focus onto John V’s heart and then we can return there over and over in the months ahead.
So tonight my happy kids will dress up. The kids are given opportunity to witness as they share their excitement over what we have planned with their friends and strangers who ask them about Halloween. We will unveil our best pumpkins EVER for the porch (pictures to follow), hand out candy and talk to neighbors we rarely get to see any other time, and pray. We have spent days as a family praying that Christ will be seen in us tonight. That His love will be shown, that we can SHINE His glory on a dark night. We will play games, make cider, take pictures, eat goodies…oh, it’s a fun day! And they will talk about it until next year when we plan it all again. Another night to bask in the glory that is God’s power over all darkness, sin, death, evil, hate, sickness, and anything else the Enemy has in his arsenal…bring it on! No fear!