Ghouls. Goblins. Ghosts. Vampires. Disney Princesses. Halloween has long been seen as an anti-church holiday. But in recent years Halloween has become a holiday where church’s find a way to welcome the community, most of the time it is through events like Trunk-or-Treat. But still, we look at Halloween and we wonder, “how can this be sacred?”
How Can This Be Sacred?
series by Rev. Jay Deskins
Every day we encounter sacred moments. And yet, we ignore, don’t notice or turn away. This blog, How Can This be Sacred? is created to help us notice the sacred in our every day lives, and how to take those sacred moments to reflect on our faith, give thanks, and to ask questions. As families become more and more busy, handing down our faith to the next generation is being pushed to the back burner. We have to be intentional about passing on the stories of our faith.
My hope is that you and your family take moments every day in your busy lives to notice the sacred.
1. Sharing (Hebrews 13: 16)
God has called us to share with each other. To provide food for the hungry, drink to the thirsty. It may seem silly, but when someone rings your bell on Halloween, they are asking for food! This is the time to teach our children why we go out and spend $50 on Halloween candy. Spending that kind of money and opening the door over and over again is a sign of love. Halloween is a great time to explain to children that we share out of love. And when someone is in need of something, we share with them if we can. I remember growing up and getting home from trick-or-treating and my brother and I had to put our candy into one common bowl. There was enough candy for our entire family! Sharing our resources with each other is a sacred act!
2. Welcome (Matthew 25: 35)
“DING-DONG” your bell rings all night long. Sure, it gets to be a bit much but Halloween is the one day a year where going door-to-door is encouraged! We should celebrate that our neighbors are wandering the neighborhood. Just like at church, when new visitors stop by, we should be prepared to welcome and show love to our neighbors. Get the good candy, do something unique, go above and beyond.
3. Creativity (1 Timothy 4: 11-15)
God gave us the gift of creativity. Halloween is a great time for us to use that gift from God to the world. It doesn’t have to be scary, it doesn’t have to involve ghosts. Painting or carving pumpkins is the obvious example. But you and your family can do something creative together to celebrate Halloween.
4. Love Your Neighbor (Mark 12: 28-34)
To be honest, this is the whole reason why I wrote this blog. Our world today lives in deep fear, especially of our neighbors. We pull into our garages and before we get out of the car, we close the garage, just so our neighbors don’t see what we look like. Front yards are no longer play areas, and our kids are kept in the backyard. And we are told year after year to inspect our children’s candy because your neighbors are lacing them with drugs or razor blades. And so church’s have started alternatives to Trick-or-Treating, called Trunk-or-Treat. Don’t get me wrong, I love Trunk-or-Treat, it is a fun way to welcome your neighborhood to your church. But far too many times the reason is to create a safe Trick-or-Treating atmosphere. What is implied is that your family’s neighbors are not safe, and if they aren’t safe then we shouldn’t interact with them (obviously, there are some real reasons for this). It creates a fear in your neighbor. Trick-or-Treating is a great way for your children to not fear their neighbors (unless you have the one guy who loves to jump out of the bushes and scare the children) but to see their faces, hear their voices, receive a gift, say “Thank you,” walk through yards, and just having fun.
When I was a hospice chaplain, I once had a patient tell me they were lonely. One of the questions I always asked my patients was, “What are you looking forward to?” This patient responded, “Halloween.” She went on to tell me that was the only time in the last decade that anyone rang or knocked on her door, and because she was homebound, she didn’t get to see children. Halloween became very important to her. The holiday of ghosts and goblins, vampires and werewolves, Jedis and Disney Princesses, provided a lonely person with hope.
So get out there this year! Ring some door bells! Do something unique for your neighbors! Buy the good candy! Halloween is almost here, and if you look closely, you can see God.
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