For many Christians, October 31st presents a difficult choice. In our Western culture, Halloween clearly has elements that make light of, or even celebrate, the darkness in our world; yet it is also a time for children to dress up as their favourite superheroes or princesses and get candy from their neighbours!
Some Jesus-followers have opted for "Harvest Festivals" at their local church where there are games and candies and dressing up--but without witches, monsters, devils and demons. Some have decided to go out of town to make the choice easier, while others just see Halloween as a fun time and will take part in it with everyone else. Some Christians will celebrate while staying away from satanic or provocative costumes, while others see the 31st as the perfect excuse to "let go" for a day. It's up to each believer in Christ to figure out the Holy Spirit's direction, but let me tell you about an encouraging trend.
For a steadily rising number of Christian families, Halloween is seen as an opportunity. No, not an opportunity to behave out of character, but as an opportunity to share the love and name of Christ Jesus. It makes sense: this is the one day a year where kids and their parents are knocking on your door! Here are two ideas for making Halloween an opportunity to share Jesus:
1. Let People Hang Out
Trick or Treating can get tiring, and here in Alberta it can also be cold. Why not set up some lawn chairs and tables in your front yard and have a camp fire in your portable propane fire-pit? Maybe pull over some heaters or some lights. Provide free coffee, tea and cookies! Just hang out for the evening, invite parents and their kids to rest for a bit, and see where the night takes you.
You may meet a neighbour you've never met before, or make a new friend, or even get to talk to them about your faith!
Some people who have done this have found that one parent will stay behind while the kids go with the other parent to finish getting candy. Why? Because they found a comfortable place to connect with a neighbour! Who knows what relaxing in your front yard could accomplish!
2. Let them know Jesus loves them.
There is power in Jesus' name! When children come to your door to get candy you have a few precious moments to talk to them. Most of us ask some questions in that moment and let them know how cute they are in their Minecraft outfits.
Here's a suggestion for something new to ask: "Do you know who loves you the most?" Now admittedly, middle-aged men may want to phrase this question differently (oh, the world we live in); however, this opens an opportunity! Most of these kids will probably answer "Mom and Dad." To which you could respond: "Yes, but there's someone else who loves you even more, and his name is Jesus."
Maybe those children will know who he is. Maybe they'll think you're creepy and go away. But what if you can get just a few to ask, "Who's Jesus?" You'll respond, "Ask your parents."
You'll have planted the seed in their hearts that Jesus loves them more than anyone can. You will give their parents an opportunity either to talk to them about Jesus, or to wonder who Jesus is. You may find that a few parents get in your face: but that's okay, because you were telling those children the most important thing they could know.
Whatever you do on Halloween, please: seek God's wisdom on the matter. Don't do something just because it is what you've always done. Maybe God will show you something other than these two suggestions. Maybe he will direct you to one of them.
This October 31st, will you seek to glorify Jesus in all that you do?
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