*This article was originally published 10/16/2010 on A Little R & R*
As we near the Halloween season many questions are raised about whether one ought to celebrate it or not.
For some these questions extend even beyond Halloween, encompassing Christmas and Easter, in an effort to distance themselves from all things pagan.
If we were to distance ourselves from all things pagan we'd barely be able to exist in this present culture at all. (click to tweet)
To be sure, Halloween's origins are dark, pagan, and demonic. I could go into a huge history lesson here - but it really would not serve the purpose for what I want to share. I think the majority of us know Halloween's Celtic orgins, how Jack-o-lanterns came to be, why they dressed up, etc.
Additionally, I think we could all agree that the way Halloween is currently celebrated hardly at all resembles the way it was originally celebrated. It is commercialized and I'd argue that most parents are not focused on the pagan aspects of the holiday - they simply want their children to have a good time.
When the topic comes up among Christians the opinions are varied and deeply rooted. Some are so steadfastly convinced that all Christians should completely ignore the day along with any kids who come calling.
The Bible does command us to reject - indeed flee from - evil, specifically demons, witches, and witchcraft in all its forms.
And to a degree Halloween falls into that category.
Yet, it begs the question that if we as believers so reject Halloween as a day, refuse to open our door to trick-or-treating kids, or allow our churches to be a safe haven for those who would otherwise be on the streets, are we missing out on an opportunity to share Christ's love?
Did Jesus literally turn away sinners in an effort to broadcast a message about sin? (click to tweet)
Did Jesus isolate Himself from unbelievers in an effort to protect Himself from pagan customs? (click to tweet) And let us not forget that in His day paganism abounded - as did every other form of wicked behavior.
If our quest is to be like Him, let us look to His behavior as an example of how we ought to respond when faced with paganism, evil, and even wickedness in our culture.
I am not proposing that we "be like the world to win the world". I reject that statement in every form. I do not believe that compromise ever brings results.
However, the church can and should capitalize upon every opportunity presented to bring the gospel to the lost. (click to tweet)
So I challenge my readers this year to consider how you might use Halloween to reach out to your neighbors and those you usually do not get a chance to talk with. Consider doing a Harvest Party at your church and advertise your facility as a safe place for children to have fun. They will be out trick-or-treating one way or another. Isn't this a great opporutnity to do an outreach to children and their parents?
Don't just ignore Halloween - turn into an opportunity. Be proactive! (click to tweet)