Lonnie Wilkey, Editor, Baptist and Reflector
Didn’t seem so bad back then, but listen to some folks today and I am almost convinced that I committed a major sin because I celebrated a pagan holiday associated with “evil.”
I’m just glad I didn’t have the Internet in those days. I thought I was only doing something to have fun and get some candy. Keep in mind that was in the “dark ages” when candy was definitely a “treat” and not something most homes kept stockpiled.
Reflecting on my childhood I don’t think I was permanently damaged or scarred because I celebrated Halloween. It was something to do in those days before families were away from home every night of the week for practice of some sort, church activities, etc. We actually went home after school and stayed there until we got up to go to school the next day.
But times indeed have changed.
For some, Halloween epitomizes evil and is associated with Satan and his demons.
For others, Halloween is a harmless holiday for children to dress up and have fun.
Which is it?
Culture has changed so much that there’s really no easy answer.
Evil does occur on Halloween night, but it also occurs every other day and night of the year. We live in a sin-filled world. We shouldn’t be surprised. Evil will be with us until Jesus returns. Just read the Bible if you’re not convinced.
The issue is not whether or not we allow our kids to dress up in costumes and get candy on a night some associate with evil. The issue is how we live our life that night and every other day of the year. Do people see Jesus in us regardless of the day/event?
I applaud churches that are trying to be that salt and light in their community.
On page 6 of this issue is an incredible story of how First Baptist Church, Waverly, is literally taking over the town on Halloween night. They’re providing a safe atmosphere for children not only in their town but surrounding areas through a fall festival. What’s amazing is this congregation of about 200 people in a town of about 5,000 people will probably minister to more than 7,000 people on Halloween night. In addition to candy and games and fun, the children (and those adults with them) will hear the gospel.
And it’s not just happening in Waverly. Churches are holding fall festivals or related events all across Tennessee and the nation.
Some will criticize churches for bowing to cultural pressure and celebrating Halloween.
I don’t think of it as bowing to pressure and it’s not even celebrating Halloween. I think of it as more obeying what Christ commanded us to do — to reach people with the gospel.
Scott Brown, pastor of First Baptist, Waverly, has a refreshing approach. “I’ve been in churches where the approach to Halloween is to go home, shut the door, turn out the light, and spend the whole night in prayer, but that’s not how I see it. I go to Genesis with the story of Joseph, where he says, ‘what you meant for bad, God used for good.’ ”
Brown also believes strongly that Halloween’s association with evil elements doesn’t excuse churches from taking advantage of opportunities to share the gospel. “My take is, who cares what the culture has tried to turn Halloween into, or even what it started as? As it stands, this is a grand opportunity for Christians to use this for the sake of the glory of God. To hide from this is to waste the greatest God-given opportunity that we have to connect with our community and see lives changed.”
As the children’s song reminds us, “let your light shine.” What better time for it to shine the brightest than on a day/night so closely associated with darkness? Let your light shine for Jesus Christ regardless of the day.