Wait. What? Americans will spend more than$15 billion on candy, costumes, and decorations this Halloween, including $350 million on Halloween costumes for…wait for it…their pets. Yep, all across America Fido and Fifi will roam the neighborhoods as UnderDog and Jerry.
Some Christians have strong opinions about celebrating Halloween in any fashion. That’s completely understandable. They argue Halloween is a pagan festival in which Christians should have no part. Other Christians see the day as part of American culture; any connections to evil or spiritual darkness are the exception and not the norm. To them wearing an amusing costume and passing out candy to neighborhood children is simple fun. Wherever you land, there is a point at which all Christians should agree.
“I don't begrudge dress-up, can't complain about meeting neighbors and candy, but there's something sick about death as a decorating theme.” R.C. Sproul, Jr.
Dead figures swinging from front yard trees, decapitated bodies across the lawn, and the Grim Reaper silhouettes are the accepted Halloween trimmings in nearly every neighborhood. Otherwise sane people dress as vampires, It the clown, or the Headless Horseman either to scare the unsuspecting or to make a joke. And the zombie craze…
Can we Christians agree that decorating ourselves or our homes with elements of death denies the very core of our Christianity?
Death is our greatest enemy. Over and again the Bible tells us what we know by experience, death is coming for all of us. Abel died. Adam died. Seth died. They all died. The Bible tells us “It is appointed for man to die once” and “Death passed upon all men.” Death is part of God’s judgment upon humanity for its open rebellion against Him since the Garden of Eden. Why would anyone want to dress their little boy as a deliverer of death or their little girl as one who has already died? There’s something wrong with that.
Jesus conquered death. The celebration for Christians must be the victory Jesus achieved over death. As Paul wrote, “O Death, where is your sting?” Because of Jesus’s death on the cross, death no longer reigns in the human experience. Where man brought death by his sin against God, Jesus brings life by His obedience to God (Romans 5:19). Christians always celebrate life. We mourn at every death and every expression of death.
If you so choose to welcome later today to your front door the children and families in your neighborhood, have the best treats you can give away. Be the smiling, happy, generous guy or nice lady all the kids talk about in school on Wednesday. Meet and talk with your neighbors who never seem to have the time other nights of the year when you are trying to build a bridge that leads to gospel conversations. Just do not applaud death or any of its agents.
As always I welcome your feedback and any suggestions you might have for an upcoming Lunchtime Musing.