(This post is written to the members and attenders of Southern Hills Baptist Church. It is not meant to be controversial nor stir up trouble among those who would disagree. It is simply written to express to our congregation my thoughts on the subject.)
We are only days away from the spookiest holiday of the year and I can’t wait. For some, Halloween is a time of haunted houses, children in costumes, and enough candy to last through Christmas. For some Halloween is what keeps them in business year round – I’m talking to you dentist. For others it is a time of confusing explanations, vague historical references and self-denial. For Christians who do not celebrate Halloween I will not attempt to change your mind. To do so would be unbiblical (Romans 14). However, I would like to give a few reasons why your pastor and his family choose to participate in this holiday.
1. It’s Associations
Every year there are new people in our church that will ask Heather and I about Halloween. “I didn’t think Christians celebrated Halloween.” “Don’t you know about its pagan history?” “Don’t you know about it’s association with death and Satan?”
It is true that Halloween has some pagan history connected with the ancient Celtic holiday Samhain (Don’t feel obligated to send me links outlining Halloween’s history. I am well versed in this topic). It is also true that some 700 hundred years ago the Christian world attempted to hijack this holiday and convert it to Christianity. But I believe that none of those things are relevant today. Today the common association with Halloween is candy, princesses, ninjas, and tummy aches. The holiday is not what it used to be.
2. It’s Communal
Our neighborhood goes all out for the holidays. At Christmas you seem to be the odd man out if you don’t have lights on your house. At Halloween there are hundreds of little ones roaming the streets for candy. This is the perfect opportunity for me, as a Christian, to be part of my community and not stand out in a strange way. We are called to stand out in other ways that really matter like love we express, the grace we show, the peace we have, the holiness we exhibit. I don’t need one more thing to separate me from the people I’m trying to reach.
3. It’s Evangelistic
I like taking this kids out trick-or-treating while Heather stays home handing out the candy. For every piece of candy that we hand out we include an invitation to our church. In a single night we can distribute up to 100 invitations. If a hundred families from Southern Hills would do this we would see 10,000 invitations given away in one night. That’s Awesome!
4. It’s Fun
I hope you are ok with having fun! This year Scarlett will be going as Snow White, Savannah will be going as Barbie, Jonathan will be going as a Dodger and I will be going as Friar Tuck. I always get stuck with a ministerial themed costume. After we load up on candy and give out 100 invitations to church, all five of us will head to our family room and watch Charlie Brown’s The Great Pumpkin. Yeah, it’s like that.
5. It’s For the Kids
Why burden Christian children with one more rule that can’t really be backed up biblically. I want our children to enjoy their childhood. This gives me another opportunity of making that happen. I don’t want to sit at home with the blinds closed, explaining to our children that the heathen children are out in the neighborhood cavorting with demons and celebrating the devil’s holiday. Heather and I want our children to remember the balanced Christian home they grew up in, a home that focused on loving Jesus and reaching our community with His gospel.
The Scriptures teach, “Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand. One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.” – Romans 14:4-5
It’s clear that if you celebrate the day and you can do so for the Lord then other Christians are unable to judge you for doing so. If you choose to not celebrate the day for whatever reason, you should not be pressured into doing so. It is a matter of Christian liberty.
What do you think? Do you agree with my reasons? Do you have other reasons? Do you have personal reasons you don’t celebrate? Do you agree that these type of things should fall under the category of Christian liberty?