Have you ever been so completely convinced of something, something that you knew was "right", and then, had that conviction be so completely challenged?
You see, years ago, when my children were still little, I was absolutely convinced that letting them go
trick-or-treating on Halloween night, meant that I was celebrating the darkness. I really believed, that it was Satan's holiday. From about the beginning of October, I went into stealth mode...... trying to protect my kids from Halloween. I avoided the costume aisles at the store so my kids wouldn't see them because I didn't want them to feel like they were missing out. (Like that worked.....) I loathed the Halloween decorations on peoples front lawns.
I purposely drove out of my way to avoid streets where I knew Halloween "lay in wait." I was constantly on the lookout for "Halloween", so that I could hide it from my kids.
I kept my kids home from school on October 31st. On Halloween night, we would hunker down in the basement watching movies, completely hidden away, so that we could avoid Satan's holiday.
I could hardly wait for November 1st, when it would be over, and I could start to live again...... What a wasted month of my life. I was held in bondage, and I didn't even know it.
In 2011 though, something happened that completely changed my view........
My beautiful daughter went trick-or-treating for the first time in her life, when she was 10 years old.
That year, about the beginning of October, she came home from school and asked me,
with the perfect innocence of a child,
"Mom, I know we don't believe in Halloween, and I know you're probably gonna say no, but do you think that I could just walk around with my friend on Halloween? I won't dress up, or trick-or-treat or anything, but I just really wanted to see all the kids' costumes. Do you think I could?"
Her tender plea pierced my heart, and I was shattered.
My heart ached for her.
I went to the bathroom, closed the door, and wept.
I wept for almost two weeks.
(My heart aches now, even as I read over this.)
I was so torn.
I was so confused.
I agonized over making the right decision.
Would allowing my daughter to dress up and go trick-or-treating with her friend,
make me a bad Christian?
My daughter had never gone trick-or-treating.
She had never gotten to go to school dressed up in something special for the Halloween party.
In fact, I had never even allowed her to participate in school art projects that were Halloween inspired.
She had never experienced the joy of dreaming, and choosing, and changing her mind, about what she wanted to be for Halloween.
While her friends talked and laughed and anticipated the fun this day would bring,
she watched and listened from the outside.
She had never experienced that fun.....
because I told her Halloween was bad.
I told her Halloween was a celebration of darkness.
How could we, as Christians, take part in the celebration of darkness?
How could we?
But I started to wonder, what exactly is darkness?
This is how the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it....
dark noun the dark
: a state in which no light can be seen
: a place where little or no light can be seen
: the time of day when night begins : the time when the sky becomes dark for the night
Full Definition of DARK
a : a place or time of little or no light : night, nightfall
b : absence of light : darkness
This, my friends, is where my heart began to change.
Darkness is simply, the absence of light.
Darkness cannot penetrate the light.
Light will always penetrate darkness.
If you walk into a completely dark room,
no matter the size of that room,
and you light a match,
that little flame will penetrate the darkness.
No, it may not be able to light the entire room,
but the immediate surrounding area, is illuminated.
Now, if you were to fill that room with lighted candles,
the darkness would simply not be able to overcome the light they create.
Light would win, every time.
Because light, pushes back the darkness.
Matthew 5:16 says, (Weymouth New Testament)
"Just so let your light shine before all men, in order that they may see your holy lives and may give glory to your Father who is in Heaven."
Check out this commentary on Matthew 5:16 from the Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary.
"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven—As nobody lights a lamp only to cover it up, but places it so conspicuously as to give light to all who need light, so Christians, being the light of the world, instead of hiding their light, are so to hold it forth before men that they may see what a life the disciples of Christ lead, and seeing this, may glorify their Father for so redeeming, transforming, and ennobling earth's sinful children, and opening to themselves the way to like redemption and transformation."
What a great thought!
Why can't we, as Christians, let our lights shine on Halloween?
(You know, instead of hiding down in our basements trying to avoid the darkness!)
We let them shine every other day of the year, right? Right?!?! :)
After all, according to Psalm 118:24,
"This is the day which the Lord has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it!"
Look, I know that there is a dark side to Halloween.
I am not stupid.
There are many evil things that take place to honor darkness on this night.
It was for that reason, that for so many years, I chose not to take part in it.
But you know, this does not change the fact that this day still belongs to the Lord!
He made it, after all!
I used to believe that if we took part in Halloween in any way, shape, or form, that we too,
would be celebrating darkness.
But I no longer believe that.
I do not believe that children dressing up in fun and fanciful costumes,
and going door to door trick-or-treating is evil.
I think it's fun!
And God made fun!
James 1:17 says,
"Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow."
That year, my daughter chose to be Little Red Riding Hood.
I accompanied her as she spent the evening with her good friends.
She experienced the joy of collecting loads and loads of candy!
She had so much fun!
And you know what?
So did I!
That is a GOOD thing.
My intent here is not to change your mind on what you believe about Halloween.
It is not my intention for you to read this blog and decide
"Hey! It really is okay to go trick-or-treating! The Barefoot Warrior says so!"
I am not an expert on Halloween.
I am not an expert on the Bible.
I am not a scholar.
I am just a stay-at-home, wife, and mother of three.
But, I've learned something wonderful.
I have learned that, I have freedom in Christ Jesus.
"There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit."
I choose to walk in the freedom that my Jesus died to give me.
Even on Halloween.
Maybe especially on Halloween!
You know, in some ways,
I feel like I was held in bondage all those years that I hid my family from Halloween.
Now please understand,
I am not saying that if you don't trick-or-treat with your kids, you are being held in bondage.
I am just saying that for me,
because I spent so much time trying to hide from Halloween,
I allowed it to steal my joy.
And that, my friends, is not freedom.
"So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed."
Friends, if you believe that it is wrong to take any part in Halloween, then don't.
Follow your convictions.
But, if you believe you have freedom in Christ Jesus to take part in the fun that Halloween offers,
If, like I was, you are sitting on the fence about what the right thing to do is,
my hope and prayer is that, you too, will find your peace on Halloween.