Monday, October 12, 2015

How Should Christians Handle Halloween?


You know the typical hot buttons in Christian mommy circles. Vaccines, organic baby food, homeschooling, cake pops vs. cupcakes...

But suddenly on October 1st all of those issues take a backseat. There’s only one issue moms gear up for:

Halloween. 

Us moms play it cool at first, staying tight-lipped and polite. But under the surface we’re ready, hand on the holster, Bible verses on the tip of the tongue. Who’s going to ask it first?

“So…what does your family do for Halloween?”

And then it's war.


"It’s about fall. No, it’s about Satan. It’s about childhood memories. It’s a celebration of all things evil. It’s about dressing up. It’s about pagan traditions."

Who’s right? This has got to be a clear cut issue…right? If you look up “Halloween” in your Bible you won’t find it. But you might be surprised at how much God has to say about Christians and pagan traditions.

I'm pretty sure the Apostle Paul had never heard of Halloween. But he knew the struggle well. And in his day it wasn’t centered around just one day. It was all the time. The churches he wrote to struggled with whether or not to eat food that had been sacrificed to idols. I can just picture the scene: 

At one end of the market place were families buying up big, juicy pieces of meat and happily talking about the feast they would have for dinner. At the other end were those who were so consumed with where that meat came from that just the thought of eating it made them sick. And as both groups eyed each other, judgments were flying. 

“Why don’t they buy the meat? They’re so stuck up.”
“How could they purchase that meat? Have they even studied it’s origins? Don’t they know the only purpose of the meat was for satanic rituals?”
“They can’t even enjoy this as a good gift from God.”
“They can’t even see that this is completely anti-God.”
“They think they are so spiritual. What a horrible example for their kids.”
“They are so ungodly. What a horrible example for their kids.”

Wow. Sounds exactly like some conversations I’ve heard about Halloween. So was it a clear cut issue about the meat? No. In fact, it turns out it wasn’t about the meat at all. It was about the people.   

“The one who eats is not to regard with contempt the one who does not eat, and the one who does not eat is not to judge the one who eats, for God has accepted him. Who are you to judge the servant of another?” (Romans 14:3-4)

Paul didn’t argue for or against eating the meat. He got straight to the heart: God’s people judging each other. 

Let's see how this principle applies to the Halloween debate. Take a look at the two opposing teams: 

Anti-Halloween: “We decided not to celebrate Halloween and we don’t think anyone else should, either.” Perhaps you learned some things about Halloween that impact your ability to enjoy it. Maybe you can’t get past the dark origins to embrace the costumes and the candy. That’s okay. No one should make you feel like you have to celebrate Halloween. If you choose to treat this day like any other day, do it in faith and to the glory of God. You are free to forgo Halloween. But you are not free to judge others who celebrate it. “Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day.” (Col 2:16) 

What does that mean? It means not bending another mom’s ear to tell her all of the gruesome details you learned about cults and Halloween. It means not considering yourself more spiritual than your trick-or-treating friends. It means being content that this decision is between you and God and it’s not up to you to change other peoples’ minds. “The faith that you have, have as your own conviction before God.” (Romans 14:22)

Pro-Halloween: “We celebrate Halloween and we don’t care if it offends people.” So you’ve decided Halloween is okay. You can comfortably take the good and leave the bad. That’s your free choice. But there are responsibilities that come with that freedom - responsibilities toward your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. "For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” (Galatians 5:13) 

What does that mean for you? It means listening respectfully to another mom share her concerns without letting it make you feel guilty about your own decision. “Therefore do not let what is for you a good thing be spoken of as evil.” (Romans 14:16) It means not posting pictures of your kids in costumes just to rub it in someone else’s face. We were set free to serve, not to flaunt. It also means doing everything on this day to the glory of God. I think we could safely say that excludes dressing your kids up like satan or using this day as an excuse to embrace evil. Pro-Halloween mamas and anti-Halloween mamas can both agree that every day is the Lord's and should be treated that way.  

In the end, Halloween has very little to do with paganism vs. fun fall traditions and everything to do with how we treat each other as brothers and sisters in Christ. Moms, we need all of our energy to support each other right where we’re at. Instead of wasting time defending people who celebrate Halloween or those who don’t, we need to focus on how to accept both - because that’s what God has called us to do. 

"Therefore, let us not judge one another anymore…so then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another."(Romans 14:13,19)

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2 comments:

  1. This is a great affirming post, thank you! Our family has chosen not to participate in Halloween activities, and my husband and I have been working hard to teach our kids that we have the choice and freedom to live the way we understand God is calling us to live as a family. It is between us and God, and is not about judging others. It has been a great exercise in being counter-cultural so our kids learn that they don't have to do what everyone else is doing - even in our church, and learn how to deal with the discomfort of that, while still being respectful of other's opinions and beliefs.

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