What’s going to be your response to all the little monsters running around tonight? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.
Tonight, several kids are going to be roaming our neighborhoods going door to door and asking for candy. Tonight also, a number of Christians are concerned. Should we even celebrate Halloween? Isn’t this a day rooted in paganism meant to worship the devil?
After several years of ministry work, I have become more and more suspicious of this idea that “X has its origin in paganism! Let’s not use it!” Chances are, I suspect most of you refer to the days of the week by their traditional names, names that come straight out of Norse mythology. Do you think you’re honoring paganism?
Some people think the wedding ring comes from a pagan tradition. I’m not here to say if it did or not, but let’s suppose it did. How many of you out there are going to chuck your wedding ring at this point so you can be free from the stigma of paganism?
As Christians, we are called to go out and to redeem the world. We are not called to run in fright from it, and unfortunately days like Halloween often get Christians in a reaction mode instead of a proactive mode. It is this idea that we must avoid any taint of something that comes from pagans.
The greatest philosophical traditions we have today find their roots in Plato and Aristotle. They weren’t Christians. Shall we reject the syllogism? Greek plays are still around today. Should we avoid reading those? If we were to visit Greece or Rome, must we avoid the temples in order to avoid paganism?
Or should we say what Paul said, that these are not gods at all. We can eat meat in the marketplace with confidence because we know the idols are just statues. We can also give out candy with confidence in the marketplace because we know today belongs to the Lord, just like any other day!
When we run from the threat of paganism constantly, we are only getting ourselves into a fear mode thinking that God cannot overcome the world. I can point to several activities out there I enjoy that some Christians will say are demonic. I can point to some that you likely enjoy as well that some Christians will say the same thing about.
I grew up playing RPGs like D&D and Collectible Card Games like Magic: The Gathering. I never once had any inkling to get into the occult because of it. I have read all the Harry Potter books and I own all the movies. I still play Final Fantasy to this day.
Now some of you might think you don’t do anything like that. Okay. Do you read a Bible other than the KJV? Do you know there are some extreme groups out there that would say you’re doing something demonic? Yes. They really exist. Some Christians are so scared of demons that they lose sight of the fact that God is greater than the demons.
My wife has a story that several years ago when she was in Middle School, she went out walking with the dog and local kids starting making fun of her. She came in crying to which one of her Dad’s friends, a big muscular guy said “Do you want me to go out walking with you?” Now I can assure you as much as she could be scared to go out walking again, if she had this friend with her, she wouldn’t be so scared. If any kid tried to give her any lip, he’d be right there to deal with them.
In the same way, you have the God of the universe on your side. Why on Earth should you be afraid of something like a demon? Now I’m not advocating being cocky or foolhardy. Don’t go out there looking for this stuff, but don’t be out there living in fear of it either.
If you’re scared you’re going to be influenced by paganism on this day, well it looks like you already are. You’re letting it control your life in that you’re unable to celebrate a day when all that is going on for the huge majority of people is just kids going out and getting candy.
If you want to be concerned about the well-being of your kids, and you should be, I wouldn’t be scared about getting candy, save for health and dental reasons, but be concerned about real threats that are out there for your children.
Be concerned about the rampant materialism that ends up in greed wanting to get hold of your kids. Get concerned about the loose sexual ethics (or lack thereof) that could get your kid sleeping with their date on prom night. Get concerned with the atheism in colleges and universities today that are out there seeking to deconvert your children. These are real threats and these are the ones to be concerned about.
As for the origins of Halloween, let’s suppose for the sake of argument, it’s pagan. So what? Really? So what? Yes. So what? If we look at Psalm 51, our origins are that we were conceived in sin and we have been redeemed. Are we saying the God of the universe is too powerful to redeem a day? In fact, if the original goal of the day had been to worship the devil and today, kids run around just getting candy, I’d say “Job well done!”
And when you give our candy, don’t be boring in it. If you’re a Christian family, you make sure you give out the best candy on the block! You do your best to make sure kids know that your Christianity does not mean you live in fear of the world.
And if you come by the Peters’ household, we’ll have some waiting for you.