Okay. I admit it. I had two seasons where I darkened our doorstep, turned off most lights, and ignored the doorbell on Halloween as a protest to its darker elements.
As a Christian, it once seemed a way to "act naturally" and abstain from what seemed another oxymoron -- that of having a "happy Halloween."
Some of it was my disdain for its satanic associations. Some of it was an excuse to save a few bucks.
I would slump on the sofa, chomp some red licorice, and watch television while my wife said good grief and took our 2-year-old son to her mother's for some neighborhood fun.
That was then. Now, a decade later, I look to engage the culture and not simply retreat.
John Fisher, in an article for CCM magazine entitled "Halloween: Trick or Treat?" writes, "Is this just one more time when we Christians isolate ourselves from culture for religious reasons apparent only to us? Have we really thought through what our dark houses are saying to the rest of the block?"
Through the example of others, prayer, some reading and thought, I have personally come to view Halloween as an ideal time to build a relational bridge with unbelieving neighbors.
When else do people you don't know come and knock on your door - at least without having something to sell you? If you know how to help someone come to know Jesus, then it is you who hold the goods.
By approaching Halloween with some thought and intention, you can more comfortably talk with someone about your Christian faith at a later time.
Romans 14:3 reminds us: "Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him" (English Standard Version).
The controversy of resolutions, what the Bible says about them, and how conversations about them can lead to the gospel.
When your son or daughter struggles with addiction, mental illness, self-injury, an eating disorder, suicidal thoughts, same-sex attraction, is incarcerated or has other issues, this day is going to be difficult for you.
As the New Year begins, I have been thinking about how we are reminded to take off our old selves and clothe ourselves in our true identity in Christ. We are invited to put on our new identity and then to clothe ourselves with things that suit our new identity, such as compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
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