Well it’s halloween, again. Yet another year has rolled round and, yet again, halloween seems bigger than ever. In our nearest supermarket a whole 3 isles have been dedicated to halloween. Costumes. Pumpkins. Cobwebs. Moving, groaning, figures. The lot. Now, it could just be my mind playing tricks on me, but I do not remember halloween being such a big deal when I was younger? But each year it seems to attract more and more attention and, quite frankly, it worries me.
I’ve shared my thoughts on halloween before (see here), but in short, I believe that there is a spiritual realm that is just as real, and just as dangerous as the physical realm. And this spiritual realm has very real forces of darkness. I will not celebrate this. But I believe that Jesus has already dealt the decisive blow against these forces and that, because of what he has done, I have nothing to fear from them, because “the one who is in me is stronger than he who is in the world” (1 Jn 4:4). However, these forces are real and I will not celebrate this fact.
Having said that, this year we’ve decided to take a slightly different approach in the Gerrard household. In the past I have simply stuck a sign on the door saying “No Trick or treat thank you. This is a Christian household, we do not celebrate halloween.” And while the shops have been overflowing with pumpkins they have not come anywhere near our house. This year, well … it’s a bit different.
I wrote last year (again, see here) about my thoughts on trying to overcoming darkness with light and this year, in the Gerrard household (and maybe next year in church?), we’re trying to do just that. Instead of no pumpkins, we are now the proud owners of three. Two declare from our front window, “Jesus Saves” and the other is based on the poem below (we found it here):
I am a Jack O’ Lantern
My light will shine so bright
For I am a Christian pumpkin
My symbols tell what’s right.
My nose is like the cross
on which our Savior died
To set us free from sin
We need no longer hide.
My mouth is like a fish
The whole wide world to show
That Christians live in this house
And love their Savior so!
The story starts at Christmas
My eyes are like the star
That shone on Baby Jesus
And wise men saw from far
My color it is orange
Just like the big bright sun
That rose on Easter Day
Along with Gods’ own Son.
And so on Halloween
Let’s set our pumpkins out
And tell the trick or treaters
What Gods’ love is all about!
We had great fun sharing the poem with the children and discussing the Christian story. Sarah especially liked the idea of secret Christian meetings that were signaled by the fish symbol. But her favourite part was the mess of scooping out the pumpkin and picking out the seeds so we could make cakes with the pumpkin we removed (after all, why should the agnostics/atheists get all the messy fun!).
We have now displayed the pumpkins in our window, with the poem, and put up Bible verse which declare the light of God:
Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” Jn 8:12
God is light in him there is no darkness at all. 1 Jn 1:5a
For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. 2 Cor 4:6
The light of the righteous shines brightly. Prov 13:9a
Our door no longer tells people not to call, but now declares:
Happy All Saints Day!
Jesus came to give light to a dark world.
This is a Christian household and we do not celebrate halloween. However, we do celebrate Jesus the light of the world and tomorrow is All Saints Day, when we remember all those people, down through the centuries, who have followed Jesus in their lives.
Please call on the door to get a present as we celebrate All Saints Day.
(See here for the actual poster alternative halloween)
And what do they get when they call on the door? Well a bag of goodies. It contains a track about halloween (we got these ones as we thought they were the best we came across. There are plenty to choose from, but some of them are awful!), but it also contains a pencil and magnet (both complete with bible verses!) and some sweets. We also enjoyed putting the bags together with the children, sticking the pictures on the front and filling them up.
I have no delusions of people suddenly being converted by this, but I think the change has been worth it. Not least because it has given us the opportunity to discuss the subject with our children and have fun with them while doing so. And, who knows, maybe we may get a few of our neighbours talking about the strange new vicar who’s doing something different for halloween and, maybe, just maybe, they may pause to think a little. Frankly, that’s enough for me.