I read the article written by J John about Halloween and I did agree with most things he said. As a Christian who believes in the spiritual realm and its power, there is no denying that this particular holiday has a gruesome side to it, which has increased over the years.
I remember as a child, it was a very innocent holiday. It was fun, it was safe and we went around each other’s houses bringing home a ton of goodies similar to what our parents had spent the evening giving away to others. Being from Tallaght, I was aware that there was some strange goings-on up at the Hell Fire Club. I’d heard the folklore of the footprint of the devil himself in the foundations of the building. But all that was far removed from the fun I was having on Halloween Night.
I get J John’s point about child safety, how it’s not ok for kids to wander aimlessly knocking on stranger’s doors any other day of the year, and that all our teaching of right and wrong to young people is, if not thrown away then put to one side for this particular night. 31st of October comes along and young people are encouraged to dress up as the most convincing axe murderers or witches. And let’s not even go there with the delightful horror movies.
These days, special effects don’t solely belong to the film makers. I’ve seen some very convincing photos of deformities, demons and more than a few pre-pubescent Draculas. I’m not saying, it’s nothing. I agree it’s all gotten darker – so has the world, but that’s another post… What I am saying is that the roof is not on fire just yet.
A lot of people will knock on a lot of doors tonight. In a time when the ‘open door’ culture has passed, here is one evening when a community literally opens up. Of course we need to protect our children and keep them as safe as we can. But I don’t think the ‘Christian’ answer is to keep our doors closed and keep our children inside them. On this one night, the whole community will be wandering around. It just feels wrong to shun it because there is a dark side to it; which by the way, is not the focus for majority of people. To most it’s about having fun.
If we’re going to talk about ‘evils’, are they lesser when it comes to the mass consumerism of Christmas (a holiday I defend far more vigorously!)? And what about the TV we watch the other 364 days of the year?
I just think J John missed an opportunity to offer some alternatives. ( In fairness his article may have been edited, but his own blog post on the subject says much the same.) And I think he omitted one very important point – the Light of Christ is brighter than any darkness. Many people don’t really believe in the significance of spiritual light and darkness. Those who believe in the Light of Christ know that the darkness is powerful, not as powerful as God though. I don’t like the idea of trivialising evil, but I also don’t think it’s a reason to close ranks and dismiss the whole thing with disapproval.
My hope is that families will have fun, communities will connect, and the Light of Christ will shine in the darkness. Tonight, and every night 🙂