Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Why We Don't Celebrate Halloween

"The night is nearly over, and the daylight is near, so let us discard the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light." Romans 13:12

Have you ever been re-convicted about something? This is what I mean.

Halloween was huge in my hometown. It was good for business. The stores stocked up on and sold out of the two essentials - candy and eggs. Yes, I said eggs. You see, once the little kiddies had filled up their bags of candy and headed home, the big kids came out to play. They treated. We tricked, and our trick was throwing eggs. We didn't egg houses. Occasionally we would egg a car or truck. Sorry about your truck, Jimmy Ray. Mostly we just prowled around in gangs egging each other. Just like candy and beads all over the streets after a Mardi Gras parade, the morning after Halloween revealed hundreds and hundreds of spent eggs littering the town's streets.

Cut to young adulthood. Halloween had lost a bit of luster. My wife and I were never really into horror movies, or all the scary stuff. Occasionally we would buy candy and hand some out from our home. Then life changed. I was born again. We started going to church, and both of us were involved in working with people who were seriously into "the deeds of darkness." There was a lot of sensationalism at that time about the evils of Halloween, and I wasn't much into the sensationalism.  But, I was strongly convicted that the celebration of Halloween had little to do with the celebration of Christ. So, we started having times of prayer on that night.

Then a young woman started coming to our church. She had moved down south to get away from an abusive family situation. As we got to know her, we found that her family had been very involved in witchcraft and then Satanism. She had pictures of their family's unholy altar. Several of the young adults in our church got involved with helping her, but then strange things began to happen. In the long run, it appeared that she was still very involved in those deeds of darkness. Chaos seemed to follow her. Couples who tried to help her found themselves at odds. There was nothing specific, but alot of strange things happening.

Well, life went on, and my wife had our first child. God was good. Life was good. We were good. One day, as we were cleaning up in the yard, we discovered that someone had attempted to break into our daughter's nursery from the outside. They had disconnected automatic lighting we had in the yard, come at some point when we were home, and used a crow bar to try and get her window up. They went to great lengths to avoid getting caught. As we thought about who would possibly have done such a thing, the young lady and several others came to mind.

The young woman had shown a keen interest in any pregnant woman in our church. My wife was working with some people who we knew to be into witchcraft and Satanism. I worked in emergency mental health services with law enforcement, and they told me that they suspected there was a local cult that could be attempting to steal very young children for potential sacrifice.  We did not know, but we thanked God she was still with us.

Ok, right now you're thinking I'm a nut. I'm reading too much into all of this. But, all of this did happen. Do I know if Satanists were trying to kidnap our 10 month old daughter? No, but someone was. Do I know if that young lady was sent into our live and the life of our church by the enemy to disrupt? No, but that is exactly what she did.

So, we made the decision to avoid all darkness. We never let our children watch shows about witches, vampires, zombies, etc. We did not play with Ouija boards, or read our fortunes, or do anything on Halloween night or any other night that was remotely connected. As a pastor, I preached about the dangers of Halloween. I endured criticism because I was "overzealous" since "it's all just good clean fun."

Then I slid. A few funny, scary movies here and there. A zombie show here and there. It seemed to lose its darkness, and I lost a bit of my edginess, until last week.

My wife and I were attending a pastor appreciation banquet put on by a para-church ministry that distributes Bibles, and heard the testimony of a woman who had been raised in a home full of the dark arts. She told how she escaped, and how her family was always able to find her no matter how far off the grid she got. She told how, in despair, she was about to take her own life when she found a little Bible and read about the hope of the Gospel. She told of spiritual battles, and the victory we have in Christ. And now she is the wife of a pastor, and the mother of godly children, and she has nothing to do with Halloween or any of that anymore.

So, thank you, God, for reconvicting me and for awakening me. Thank you for reminding me why we don't celebrate Halloween, even though so many think we're crazy not to. We don't celebrate Halloween, because, for some, it's more than candy and eggs. We don't celebrate it, because it is a dark holiday and we no longer walk in the dark. We don't celebrate Halloween, because even in its seemingly innocent forms it is a doorway to far less innocent practices. Honestly, I like a lot of the scary entertainment stuff, but why would I want to open my mind and heart to that when Jesus died to save me from the darkness. It's so much better to walk in the light.