Friday, October 31, 2008

Redeem-o-ween?

Every year, I know that a ton of followers of Jesus struggle through the Halloween holiday, not knowing how to approach it in a Christ-honoring way, and not wanting to just pull away from the fun entirely. Parents of grade-school kids struggle with this the most, for obvious reasons. Because of the pagan/pre-Christian roots of Halloween, many Christians do choose to boycott the day entirely.

A couple of problems I have with boycott:

1. The 31st of October happens. We have to deal with it. Even staying in bed all day you’re doing something. So the question is, how to spend the day best?
2. Yeah, pagan roots. I get it. But how is it different from the pagan roots of bringing a pine tree into your home around the winter solstice? How is it different from celebrating Easter on the Sunday when they tell us to, which also has roots in the pre-Christian/pagan past? Native Americans were at the first Thanksgiving, and we know they had a pantheon of spirits they prayed to. Shall we boycott Thanksgiving as well, and everything that once was tinged with some belief system not our own?
3. We are called to be a LIGHT in a dark world…and if this night of Halloween is as dark as some theatrically skilled Christians say it is, then we better figure out a way to bring the light.

Here is the way my mind currently leans…towards redemption. Just as a pine tree can be redeemed from the pagan past, and brought into the present as a way that I celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ…that is a picture of redemption. Just as we honestly celebrate the resurrection of Christ every year at Easter, we redeem what once was popularly used for pagan practice, now bringing all the honor and the glory to Jesus. I say we do the same thing for Halloween. Let’s use it to honor Jesus.

Now, I’m not totally sure how to do this. Our church hosts a HUGE carnival in our building…inflatables, games, candy by the dumptruck-fulls…and thousands of kids show up in costume, because kids love to show up anywhere in costumes. We do ask that the costumes be non-frightening, and non-violent, which is basically what the public schools ask, and it’s for the sake of the little, little kids that come to party.

Maybe Christians get more pro-active on hosting themed Halloween Parties. Maybe instead of letting people show up in any old costume, we take the lead and host parties with a theme: Come as your favorite Athlete, come as your favorite Historical Figure, come as your favorite inanimate object. Maybe that’s lame, or maybe it’s brilliant. I say that about a lot of my ideas.

All I know is this: Jesus specializes in taking things that once were used for shameful things, and redeeming them for His glory. Chances are, He’s done it in your life. Personally speaking, I know He’s redeemed THIS ween.

4 comments:

Ginny said...

Anyone who truly struggles with letting their kids celebrate Hallowe'en due to some long ago pagan roots has surely forgotten the joy of running around in the dark, dressed in costume, wearing make-up and collecting a pillow case or plastic pumpic full of candy. Boo!

Lisa said...

thanks for making an appearance at our halloween party. it's always nice for dad's to come too! the kids thought it was a riot that you got 'arrested.'

:)

Ken said...

Some might think it lame, but Jesus can heal the lame, even lame ideas (grin). Yay, Mike. Thanks for putting some clear thinking around yet another everyday issue we're all wrestling with. Thanks for helping to model using the "evil Internet" for God's glory and honor, too!

Nancy H said...

We had a great event at MVCC--organized by your amazing sister!! It was a blast! I too love your thinking about shining the light and love of Christ in this sinful world and in formerly pagen holidays!! Let that light keep on shining!!