All-Hallows Eve? Trunk-or-Treat, Harvest Party? Abstinence, Moderation?
October seems to open up the season of “denominational differences” as Charlie Brown puts it.
While I have spent time in Scripture searching out God’s thoughts on Christmas and American holidays like Thanksgiving, my focus today is on the night Linus visits the Great Pumpkin.
Is there actually a way to know for sure if you should participate in Halloween as a follower of Christ?
I think there is.
I’ve been on both sides of the fence, along with dedicated believers I love. So, if you’re interested in my two cents, here it is.
Everything goes back to our purpose as Christians.
We are on Earth as ambassadors for Christ’s Kingdom, to glorify God and operate as the hands and feet of Jesus (2 Cor. 5:20). We have been told to take no part in shameful works of darkness, but instead expose them (Eph. 5:11-14). We are told to break up fallow ground and take a stand for righteousness (Hosea 10:12). And we are told how to do it.
Like Jesus, we are anointed to bring good news to the poor, open blind eyes, shatter oppression, and share the unparalleled joy of the Gospel (Luke 4:18).
Scripture speaks against the double-mindedness that simply goes with the flow with no root or center (James 1:6-7). But it also speaks against being contentious and laying stumbling blocks before our neighbors (1 Cor. 10:23-31). You don’t have to go far to find Christian posts online that advocate abstaining from this or that holiday for different reasons, but many of them do not reflect the character of Christ.
We are meant to take moral stands in our culture, but as we feel led to share information we think is important, we should at least consider what aroma we’re giving off. If we’re consistently negative about everything, where’s the hope? How are we encouraging people from the world to abandon their practices and join the Kingdom of Light?
And by the same token, in our freedom to participate with culture on different levels, are we glorifying God by what we eat and drink and whatever else we do (1 Cor. 10:31)?
On that foundation, here’s a few questions that I believe can help us when determining how and if we participate in “worldly things”. (This also includes things like secular movies, certain kinds of clothes, alcohol, vaccinations, etc).
1. What is my background of knowledge on this? Where did my information come from, and is it accurate? Just because you heard a story from someone or read something online doesn’t mean it’s completely true or that you should base your life on it. Make sure you’re not just choosing information that reinforces what you already think and then using it as a weapon against others.
2. Am I making a deliberate decision or simply following some manmade or self-made “rule”? Don’t go with any flow except the Spirit’s. Ask Him questions about what you’re considering.
3. What’s the spirit behind my decision? A decision to abstain from Halloween might be rooted in fear of accidentally dishonoring God or looking like a bad Christian while a decision to mindlessly participate could stem from laziness.
4. What are you learning from your decision? Simple abstinence for the heck of it doesn’t teach your kids anything. Impart to them God’s commission for your family, show them the beauty of their faith, and give them something to give away to others.
5. What is the outcome of your decision? Is Christ glorified? Or is the enemy focused on? Is there confusion and contention coming out of your stance or are you able to stand firm in it regardless of contrary opinions—and engage with those contrary opinions in love?
Two final points to leave you with:
6. The power of Christ’s Blood supersedes the enemy. God isn’t going to lose you. Nothing can pluck you from His hand (John 10:27-30). We don’t need to fall prey to either extreme of paranoia or foolishness. Choosing behavior that strengthens your relationship with Him causes you to live your life in joyful certainty.
7. There’s an evil side to everything (beauty, money, entertainment, holidays, sex). The enemy corrupts everything he touches. But as a Christ-follower, what have you been called to glorify and emphasize? Make sure your behavior is exalting the Kingdom you belong to. And that might look different than you think. Don’t be so quick to assume that other Christians aren’t exalting the Kingdom because they look different than you. Remember the bigger issue at hand, and don’t fall victim to the enemy’s ploys of confusion and contention.
I won’t tell you what to do this Halloween, but here’s what you shouldn’t do: spend the whole day focused on the enemy. He’s defeated.
Celebrate the Kingdom you have been brought into. And let your decisions and actions reflect that! Join with Paul in seeking the advantage of many, that they may be saved, as you have been (10:33)!