What to do about Halloween

“It’s October!” My kiddo squealed. “I’m so excited about Halloween!”

And here we go again…

Halloween.  Nothing holds greater power to make good friends bitter enemies than Halloween.

It’s a clear-cut issue.  Halloween is the funnest day of the yeartotally evildress-up funof the deviltime to be sillytime to be vigilantcandy heaventooth decayfun for the whole familythe devil’s playgroundclassic American culture… a horrible dark thinga great way to build community with your neighborhoodan opportunity to stand against darknessthe best holiday of the yearthe most evil day of the year… not clear-cut.

I was born and raised in a country where Halloween was not part of the culture.  At some point it became a cultural import but most people, especially Christian people, did not embrace it.  Now I live in West-coast America where Halloween is as culturally prized as apple pie and Fourth of July!  It was a big shock when I first moved here, to see really wonderful godly people decorating their homes and encouraging their kids to dress up.  I didn’t understand why Christians would be involved with such a dark-themed holiday.  And then, as youth pastors, we had to work out what to do for our community of teens and families who demanded a safe and positive October 31st event.  It pushed me to have to pray…

What is a Christian supposed to do?!  What does God say about Halloween??

The Bible says a lot about evil.  The Bible also says a lot about reaching the world with God’s Love.  The Bible says a lot about standing for righteousness.  The Bible also says a lot about Jesus and God’s children being around people who don’t know Him yet.  The Bible says a lot about a lot of things.

But the Bible says nothing specifically about Halloween.

Oh, I know.  There are lots of verses and passages that we can use to shine His Light onto the Halloween debate.  I mean, clearly, we are meant to stand against evil.  And, yes, Halloween is a celebration of things that are dark and evil.  But, let’s be real and honest, the Bible doesn’t say anything SPECIFIC about Halloween in 2017.

Don’t be mad. (Yet.)  Hear what I’m saying…

The Bible teaches us how to live.  His Word shows us His Ways.  Shows us how to be His children.  How to be transformed and sanctified and redeemed.  The Bible is a Living text that I take very, very seriously.  It is my Life.  He is my Life.  And His Word is the ultimate Word of God in this life.

But here’s what the Bible isn’t:  A list of rules and regulations that save us.  A list of dos and don’ts that purify us.  A one-size-fits-all life blueprint that redeems us.  The Bible is a letter from God that spurs us to a living, interactive, real relationship with Him.  The Bible transforms our minds and hearts so we can know Him.  The Bible opens our eyes to see Him and our ears to hear Him.

The Bible is our foundation for walking with Him.  Talking with Him.  Learning from Him how to live out His Love every day.  How to live His Light in the day and location and situation we each are uniquely in.  The Bible shows us our need to know Him and hear Him each day.  Each of us.

A problem comes when we make absolute declarations about things the Bible isn’t black and white about.  By making blanket statements and generalizations we are removing the need for each person to have a daily relationship with the Holy Spirit.  When we declare there is one way to do something, we steal each person’s responsibility to pursue the voice of God for themselves.  That should totally freak us out. How dare we step in between people and God? Jesus came to free us from the system of priests that mediate between God and man. The redemptive work of Jesus tore the curtain that separated man from Holy Yahweh.  And Jesus left earth so the Holy Spirit could come and be our ever-present Comfort and Teacher (John 14:26, John 16:12-15).

This is what God’s Word says about Halloween… and other things like parenting styles, budgeting approaches, political convictions, Christmas trees, spring equinox Easter, skirt hem-length, how many children to have, what happens to your remains after you die, etc etc… “if you want to know what God wants you to do — ask Him, and He will gladly tell you” (James 1:5 NLT)

James1v5Here’s the tricky and wonderful thing about prayer and walking with Yahweh: He will speak to each of us with a very personal and unique plan.  And each day it could be different.  In fact, in my personal experience, each day is different.  Because He is not leading me to learn a formula.  He is not training us to do things “right” and then not need His voice anymore.  He is building our relationship towards being utterly and beautifully intertwined and dependent on Him.  That He would be our All.  And that the world would be touched and transformed by His Power and Love as it drips from our lives.  As it flows from our hearts.  Not because we all do the same thing on Halloween.

This is the Christian life:  The Bible is our Truth and anchor.  And we use it to measure every personal Word we believe is from the Holy Spirit.  And we submit our hearts to each other in community and ask for wise godly counsel.  And we cry out to the Holy Spirit to speak His dynamic and present power into each of our lives each day.  And we plunge passionately into the things He tells us to do as we fulfill our unique callings in the Kingdom of God.  Amen? Amen.

When we hit up against weird cultural things like Halloween, we are like cross-cultural missionaries who have to pray about how to be involved with the people they are living amongst.  Aren’t we?!  And each situation is yet another glorious opportunity to talk with and walk with our incredible, massive, powerful, beautiful Creator and Sustainer.

So, what should you do about Halloween?  You need to ask the Holy Spirit. This year. Every year. Each and every time. And He will tell you what to do. One year, it might be to abstain and stand against the darkness.  Another, it might be to hold a party and invite your whole neighborhood. Another, it might be to learn the joys of dressing up and being silly as a family.  Another, it might be to serve with a Fall Festival outreach.  When it comes to things like Halloween, the Body of Christ has a beautiful opportunity to listen to the Holy Spirit and be equipped, called and sent.  Each of us beautifully orchestrated in His amazing plan to flood this planet with His glory.

And what should you definitely NOT do this Halloween?  Do not be upset when people do something different to you.  Do not be judgmental when someone seems to do the opposite of what the Holy Spirit asked you to do.  Do not follow a formula or system or self-made conviction.  Do not break-up with friends over it.  Do not split churches over it.  Do not let this Halloween thing have power like that.

I’m not afraid to say it:  I don’t like Halloween.  But I have been forced into having to consider it because we live in a culture that does celebrate it.  And we are raising our kids to pray about ways to connect with their community and carry His Love to lives that don’t know Him.  And so we are, as a family, asking God what to do about Halloween this year.  Praise God: Halloween gives our family something to pray about together! We are learning to hear the Holy Spirit and walk out what we hear Him say. We are teaching our kids how to hear Him. And that is good and right.

So, dear passionate, beautiful children of Yahweh…

Happy Halloween “Reason To Hear God’s Voice”

If you need wisdom — if you want to know what God wants you to do — ask him, and he will gladly tell you. He will not resent your asking. (James 1:5 NLT)

11 thoughts on “What to do about Halloween

  1. Alicia Fick says:

    Thanks for posting Stephanie Alvarez or I would have missed this! I love that you went to the deeper issue of this Justine as it is something I’ve struggled with year after year. You put into words so eloquently how I feel – I had to read to Stephen! Happy Reason to Hear God’s Voice! 🙂

  2. Lauren says:

    well, there you go again. i love and so, so appreciate this post. and i needed to hear it for reasons beyond just the halloween question (though as a Jesus-following nanny of non-Christian children who adore halloween, i was also very interested to read and gain wisdom from this post). pursue God’s voice for myself. don’t judge. yes. and i LOVE james 1:5 from the nlt. thank you so much, as always, for sharing with us….

  3. Stephanie Alvarez says:

    Love this. So much wisdom in these words Jus! I am so thankful for a personal God that invites us into relationship with Him and not just a list of rules to follow. How boring would that be. So awesome that you are teaching your kids to pray in these situations and hear from God! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

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