I had no intention on writing about Halloween today. In fact, I was planning to write about the Reformation since it is Reformation Day. However, the past few days the cultural celebration of Halloween has been on my mind. Let me say at the outset that I know everyone who takes part in Halloween festivities is not celebrating darkness. Also, by way of full disclosure, let me say that my kids have been collectors of candy in years past. So, what has prompted me to write? Halloween has never been a favorite holiday of mine, even in my younger years. I don’t mind kids in cute costumes and candy, but I have never cared for scary and gory costumes, haunted houses and horror films (and that’s not even dealing with historical issues). Actually, those things make me uncomfortable. Two things have become increasingly clear to me the past few days.
First, so much of the Halloween festivities among the general populace are nothing more than a celebration and glorification of darkness and death. This is the opposite of the Gospel! As I told one of the kids in our church family Sunday, we are seeking to tell people how to get out of death (1 Cor. 15:20-21). As Christians, we are those who have been brought out of darkness into marvelous light and are pointing others to Christ, the life (John 14:6, Colossians 1:13, 1 Peter 2:9). You may be tempted to say, “it’s all just lighthearted fun” which leads me to my next point.
Second, I read the following this morning. “I am convinced that Halloween continues to be a heathen coping-mechanism…death is real, yet so troubling that they must somehow manage its reality – only on their terms, short of God. Laughter and frivolity are like the booze that drowns their troubles away.” The reason this strikes a chord with me is because, as a pastor, over the years I have witnessed the trivializing of death in another arena, the funeral. I have consistently been bothered by the baseless hollow statements made at funerals. People often comfort one another with: “they are in a better place” or “they were a good person” or “she is Heaven’s gain” and “everything will be alright”. The problem is that these statements are regularly made devoid of Christ. There is no hope apart from Christ (Col. 1:27). Christ, himself did not find death to be a trivial or laughing matter (John 11:35). In fact, sin and death are so serious that only the substitutionary death of the sinless Christ could defeat death and offer life to those who repent of their own damning sin while trusting Him (John 1:29, Rom. 4:24-25, 8:2).
Whether you choose not to take part in today’s festivities or to take part in what you feel is acceptable, let Halloween remind you that death is no trivial matter. Death is an outrage and we have the Good News of Life! Much more could be said and has been said, but that’s my contribution for now.