Holidays - Blog

This Halloween, Turn the Lights On

Deanna Joy Kustas

As Oct. 31 approaches, perhaps you have been mulling over the age-old debate: “To Halloween or to not Halloween?”

These days, some Christians choose not to participate in Halloween, but what if we looked at the holiday with new perspective?

David Mathis, executive editor of DesiringGod.org, asks this question,

“What if we saw Oct. 31 not merely as an occasion for asking self-oriented questions about our participation (whether we should or shouldn’t dress the kids up or carve pumpkins), but for pursuing others-oriented acts of love?

“What if we capitalized on the opportunity to take a step forward in an ongoing process of witnessing to our neighbors, co-workers and extended families about who Jesus is?”

Working in campus ministry you see many students’ schedules include multiple Bible studies, weekly Christian campus meetings, and when combined with school responsibilities it leaves no time to cultivate relationships with people who do not yet know Jesus.

And, if I am honest, that can be true of my own life. “Opting out” of engaging with the world God placed us in can happen because of fear or busyness. A lifestyle of isolation from the world and the lost around us is not what God intended for His children.

Perhaps, this Halloween is the perfect opportunity to respond selflessly in love by caring for our neighbors, and fighting our tendency to isolate.

It is not just Halloween that can be scary, but reaching out can feel that way too.

God is calling us to reach out to people who may seem different than us, and may be using the things we have been warned against to do it. Sure, this has the potential to get messy and awkward but engaging can lead to new relationships and change lives.

Perhaps it is my naïveté that informs my opinion on the subject of Halloween, but I know the One who began and will finish the good work He started in me is the same One who calls me to go and love others outside my comfort zone. He is more powerful than any fear or power in the world we live in.

You and I have to get up off the couch and be intentional. Gulp! We have to care about people more than rejection or the arguments surrounding Oct. 31.

So, maybe this year we turn on the porch lights and open the door to the opportunities God has given us to get to know and love our neighbors, classmates or co-workers.

Here are some practical ideas for loving your neighbors this Halloween:

  1. Make your house a fun and inviting place to visit. Turn on the lights, and if you are feeling festive put some decorations up. Give out good candy and use each knock on the door as a chance to get to know the children behind the costumes and their parents.

  2. Throw a party before trick or treating. Parents and their children need sustenance to carry all that candy home.

  3. Attend someone else’s party. Ask the host what you can bring and stay late to help clean up. If you are nervous, do not do it alone. We are the body of Christ because God has created us to need each other, so take a friend or two with you.

  4. If you are on campus, partner with other groups. Or, show up to an event with some friends from your Bible study or campus ministry and be intentional about getting to know one or two new people.

  5. If you are a parent, look for ways to volunteer at your child’s school. Use the opportunity to get to know other parents or your child’s teachers.

  6. Bundle up with your loved ones and hand out cider or hot chocolate on your lawn. If you are feeling especially generous, cook up some hotdogs on the grill and get to know your neighbors as they pass by.

  7. Bake or buy some treats for the people at your office. Maybe sit with someone new over lunch to get to know them as you enjoy the pumpkin-flavored whatever filled with sugar you brought in.
     

If you have ideas or something you want to try, share in the comments below!

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