Well we are now in October. A month of changing leaves and crisp breezes (well not always in Louisiana but in most states it is..). October also brings with it a great deal of controversy. Controversy between Christians and unbelievers as well as within the church. There are many opinions on either side of this issue. In this post I hope to explain why my family chooses to NOT participate in Halloween. I feel it necessary to add a disclaimer here in that, no matter what we as a family choose, we do not sit in judgment against anyone else. We all answer to our Creator and it is to him all are accountable. Now to the issue at hand, October 31 is it secular or spiritual in your home?
Let’s start with a little history. Halloween or All Hallows Eve, was the Christian church (catholic-universal church) response to the pagan ritual of Samhain. After Constantine made Christianity the state religion, many pagans were almost forced into this religion. With them, they were holding to many of their pagan rituals and festivals. This was one of them in which they went house to house getting food for the harvest god and threatening tricks or evil if no food was given. The church, in order to get the pagans to give up their rituals, offered an alternative or substitute. It became a time to remember those Saints who were martyred for the faith. Now, I am not going in to great depth or detail here but you get the jest of it.
October 31 today is claimed as harmless fun. No one is worshipping darkness or evil. And to that comment I would have to agree. It is simply a way for our children to get candy and dress up in silly costumes and have a good time. I do not know of any 5 year old worshiping evil on this night. It is for most households harmless fun. But do not be mistaken that regardless of how you see the night, there are people who still see it as a dark night.
Most churches, have decided that rather than tell its members to not participate in Halloween, they would instead create an alternative.. Sound familiar? Now, let me say, I do not think Harvest Festivals are altogether bad. I will say, however, that we must search our motives carefully. If we are offering candy, dress up and games to our Christian children as an alternative to the Secular ritual, we are no different than the early church.
This is why we choose not to participate in this holiday. We are a Christian society of contradictions. We say things like we have to be “set apart” and then practice the same rituals as the world under our steeples. We tell our children it is NEVER ok to lie and then tell them about Santa and an Easter bunny. October 31 is just one more instance where we are telling our children one thing and doing another. If we are to be set apart then why is it ok to push that to the side for the sake of “fun.” I am no Martha Stewart, but I like to think that we have fun in our house lots of nights of the year. My boys have tons of dress up and they can do it any time they like. They are not deprived of candy or games. The world has told us that if we choose to not participate then we are RADICALS and keeping our kids from clean fun. Wait… did I say the world.. the church says the same thing.
One thing I have heard from a church was that having a harvest fest keeps the kids off the streets and in a safe place. That is comparable to saying I will let my teenagers have alcohol as long as they drink it at home. Do you see how even our churches are lowering its values to pander to the lies of the world.
“Set Apart” does not mean alternative solution it means taking a stand against something. It means not being a participate at all.
1 John 2:15-17
15Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.
Sadly, many people in our churches today do not even know the true significance of this day. October 31 is not merely a secular holiday. It is in fact one of much deeper importance to us and yet we know not its grand importance. Here is more history…
On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses on the church in Germany. What, does that have to do with us you ask? EVERYTHING! This was the first step in what is now known as the Protestant Reformation. Everything we know and believe began from this first man studying the scriptures and daring to challenge the catholic church on issues of works based salvation. It is Luther who declared us the opportunity to learn more of the bible for ourselves rather than trusting in clergy to interpret it for us. This man, as well as many others who were martyred for their stance against the catholic church, laid a path that we as evangelical Christians are now walking.
So my challenge to you this October is to do some research. Pray and search God on whether or not Halloween is something we should be participating in-even through harvest fests. Do not seek answers from friends or families but from God alone. And then if you feel him pointing you to action, take a stand! Even if everyone in your church disagrees with you, someone has to take a stand! Martin Luther took a stand and look at what was gained from it. If we all turn our heads and blend into the world around us, we will look no different than the world.
This October 31, will it be secular or spiritual. A night of prayer for reformation or a night of fun and games. Regardless of where you stand, I think we can all agree that we are forever indepted to Luther and to the other sacrifices made. And maybe this year, someone in your family will call for a reformation and time of Christians once again being SET APART!