I’m 18, so it’s around this time of year that a lot of my peers get excited about an event; Halloween. Some of them even say they prefer Halloween to Christmas. But it’s an excitement I don’t share. Here’s why:
Although on a personal level, I’m a real scaredy cat who hates horror films or anything to do with death, I believe there’s a spiritual element to my dislike of Halloween. Academics differ on the origins of Halloween; some believe it was always a Pagan festival, others think it came from All Saints’ Day. All Saints’ Day was a celebration of those who are in heaven, and it has been twisted into a celebration of hell and spiritual death. Why would I want to celebrate that when I know the undeserved grace given to me by my Saviour Jesus? He experienced hell and death that I, who deserved such punishment, might experience unconditional love and eternal life as one of the saints. To me, the idea of a Christian celebrating something that subverts and distorts the Gospel is contradictory.
This is not a condemnation of fun; I love dressing up and that’s not wrong. We can celebrate in a way that is ‘in the world but not of the world’. Having fun at parties and enjoying the company of your friends is a wonderful thing. Carving a pumpkin is like a miniature version of creation, a tiny globe we give life and character to. Fireworks are beautiful, a tiny expression of God’s role as the ‘light of the world’1. In essence, when it comes to celebrating Halloween, or indeed anything, we must listen to the word; “Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honourable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”2 I’m not trying to be legalistic. I know that the vast majority of people celebrating Halloween aren’t celebrating hell or death; they just enjoy dressing up and it’s an excuse for a night out. I’m not calling them witches or anything ridiculous like that! However, I believe that as Christians we must consider our stance on the event by aligning it with God’s word, not by what we consider ‘innocent fun’.
What I find so surprising about Halloween is the current cultural obsession with the Occult – witchcraft, fortune telling, Ouija boards etc. It seems that many people would rather turn to these sources for help than to God. They are quick to deny the existence of a creator, but not of a spiritual dimension. To me, this recent instinct is further confirmation of the God-shaped hole in our lives. However, turning to the Occult cannot fill it; it is dangerous and destructive, it enslaves those seeking hope, it preys on the vulnerable and seduces them with lies. If you are reading this and are caught up in anything I have mentioned, or are just searching for hope in a hopeless world, you need to know that the only place you’ll find it is in Jesus. He breaks the chains of slavery, hopelessness, depression, suicide, illness, abuse and all evil. Jesus is ‘the light [that] shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.’3 He is ‘the bread of life’4, giving eternal satisfaction and contentment. He came that ‘you may have peace’5, that ‘your joy may be complete’6. Satan enslaves, but ‘if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.’7
Many people find temporary fun or satisfaction when celebrating Halloween, but I have a lasting joy and an eternal freedom because of the love of Jesus. I really hope you accept and receive it too. No longer are we Walking Dead; instead we have a Walking God. He walks through life with us as he once did in the Garden of Eden, all because of Christ’s sacrifice.