This year, my church threw me for a loop. Made me stop and think.
Instead of having a Fall Festival, they asked us, the church body, to get out and interact with neighbors on Halloween.
Their encouragement is that Jesus loves everyone and calls us to follow His example in extending love. Too often, our neighbors may view us as stick-in-the-mud-with-no-passion-for-life people with reclusive tendencies. Like me. I am that Halloween hermit who hides indoors, lights off, and hopes against hope that no one rings the doorbell. We can do better than that.
So, I’ve been thinking on it. Praying on it. A lot.
What I’ve found is something very scary in my heart that must be dealt with before October 31.
I found legalism.
I found the “you are doing something I don’t approve of, so I’ll withhold my love from you” spirit.
I found the “you must worship like me, because any other way is wrong” spirit.
Ugh. Very Scary.
Is my Jesus offended by those celebrating Oct. 31? Or, is my Jesus offended by my righteous little self not willing to lift a finger to love?
Most of the people I know who will be celebrating Halloween are those who like their lives without Jesus.
What if I showed up, innocuously, and said, “I love you, because Jesus does, too”?
Wouldn’t it be the best message I could give my neighbors who will only see me (or not see me) this one time of year?
Nah, I don’t see injury with candy-giving or dressing up, fellow-shipping or dancing… My problems are with the demons who rule the season, hurting people through witchcraft, depression, alcoholism, lust, and other mean things. Somewhere in my lifetime, I took those things as Halloween itself and bashed the day as the ultimate day for death to have it’s way.
But is that what the day is, outside of my fears?
Jesus died and rose again so I would see He holds the keys to life and death, and satan and his demons are going to pay for all that they’ve done. God says so. That is the true day of death, when the enemy ultimately meets its doom. As a Daughter of the King, I don’t have to worry or be anxious about demons, I need to be about my Father’s business, whatever that looks like.
Where does that leave me?
My eyes have been opened to legalism vs. grace, religion like white-washed tombs vs. the new wine of the Ruach.* My example for living life is the Jesus of the Bible, not the leaders of Christian society.
How then will I live?
I’ve determined I want to love my neighbors and their children year-round, as Jesus did and does.
And these neighbors I will only interact with on Halloween? I want to bless them, so maybe they glimpse Jesus.
There will be no more Halloween bashing in my heart or mind. Instead, I will use Halloween as an opportunity.
An opportunity to love.
How will I do this?
Well, I’m not entirely sure just yet. But there’s still 12 days to go.
I’m kicking around the idea of a paparazzi line in front of our house, with a sidewalk red carpet and faux velvet ropes.
Husband might hand out snacks, while I ask if I can take a picture and have their autograph. Then, I would take those precious names before my Master in prayer for the next year.
We shall see. Pray for me, guys.
PS: I still do not believe humans scaring humans is “fun”… Please pray for me to have the heart of Jesus in all this. 🙂
*The Holy Spirit. The Ruach is His Hebrew name.