Our children asked us the other day if we were going trick or treating this year. Once again, they have polled all the church kids and figured out that some of their friends go trick or treating, and some don’t. Again, I told them that Halloween is mostly about darkness and evil things. Now, my children are observant. They know that children (at least the ones they know) aren’t celebrating darkness; they just like candy. But when you go into the stores and see the decorations, it’s clear what the “holiday” is about. They see the fear and scary part of halloween, too. Since we we are children of light, and since we believe that there really are evil things in the world, we don’t celebrate halloween.
This is the best I can do for explanations that will make sense to a child. We like dress up and candy. That’s why we’ve invited friends over to play games and eat the Halloween candy that we’re giving out. I did explain that I don’t believe other Christians are acting wisely when they celebrate Halloween as the world celebrates it. Doesn’t it make sense to do what we think is best and wisest? And doesn’t it make sense, in that case, to teach why, and to hope that others also learn to think wisely about halloween? I don’t apologize for our approach, but we did spend time talking about how we all have blind spots, how we can learn from others, and how different Christian families can respond to halloween as Christians differently. That’s a hard one, because I know my children wish we were like the Christians who go trick or treating! When I see them, I’m a little afraid– maybe I’m not taking the right approach….
Here is the note we gave to our neighbors last year. We’re in a new place, and I’ve been thinking about giving this note out again. I am uncomfortable with leaving tracts in children’s bags– I know the children are coming to our door, but I know if I were an unsaved parent, I wouldn’t like it. If I found the right tract, maybe I wouldn’t be uncomfortable. But who are the parents who walk right up to the door with their children? It’s the fearful ones. I might give tracts to them, and candy to the children. We’ll see.
Nevertheless, the note I wrote is convicting to me. Perfect Love DOES cast out fear. So why I am I ever afraid? It makes little sense to hold out an offer that God’s love answers our fears, if I’m not genuinely responding to fear in a conquering, biblical way. So I’m taking a moment to think of the things that send chills in my life, and I’m reminding myself that God has it all under control. Be not afraid, ye of little faith!
Last night, as we were eating dinner, I got out our Bible. Here is the passage I read to them:
For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the Spirit[b]isin all goodness, righteousness, and truth), 10 finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. 11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. 13 But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. 14 Therefore He says:
“ Awake, you who sleep,
Arise from the dead,
And Christ will give you light.” (Ephesians 5:8-14)
BTW, this isn’t a hill I would die on. If my husband loved trick or treating, if the cousins all had a tradition of trick or treating together, I’d make a distinction between light and darkness in a different way.
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