Maybe right now is not the best time for this. I studied all afternoon, took a long LONG test for which I wrote 14 pages in a blue book, then came home where Nate had me a martini all ready and waiting. So, post-martini might not be the best time to do a Reformation post. But I did make a promise, so I’ll at least write a little.
I was going to browse around and link to other bloggers who posted their own unique musings on the topic, but it seems that Tim Challies took care of that for me. You should definitely browse through some of those, but it might take you 3 years. You should probably get started.
Reformation Day for the Bonhams didn’t consist of much this year. Well, at least not for this Bonham. Nate went to the Reformation Celebration at Highlands, but I was stuck taking a midterm for my Biblical Lit class. When I got finished, I called to see if they were still at the church, but the party was already over. So I came home and went to bed. If I had been able to, I would have LOVED to fix supper, get a big bowl of candy for the trick-or-treaters, and curl up on the couch with Nate watching Luther, but maybe next year.
And yes…. I did say get a big bowl of candy for the trick-or-treaters. Am I going trick-or-treating myself? Nahh. Have I before? Yes. Did I have a great time? Of course! Do I think it’s wrong for Christians to trick-or-treat? Hmmm…. That’s a little harder to answer. Lots and lots of Christians think it’s the celebration of a Satanic holiday. Others dress their kids up for a Reformation party and then go hit up the neighborhood afterwards. Is there a definite right or wrong? I dont know. But there sure are lots of opinions.
I don’t know if I have an exact definite answer for this one. But I will tell you a few things that I have observed…
–There are lots of Christians who use "Halloween" as a way to judge other Christians and put on a show of their own self-righteousness. Of course that’s not true of everyone, but there are lots who take on a holier-than-thou attitude because they don’t let their kids trick-or-treat.
–There are lots of people who cite lots of "historical" date about the origin of Halloween and all of the evil it represents. Have you looked it up for yourself? Have you done any actual research? Where do you get your information? The places where I have seen scholars that do legitimate research on the topic and its origins tend to come up with strikingly different results than that which is popular opinion. (I’ll try to find some of the articles I have read and post them.) Don’t quote random crap that you’ve heard from a friend of a friend of your parents that told you 30 years ago when you were 5. If you’re going to have a reason to stand behind something, know what your reason is and be able to back it up. That’s all I’m saying. Heresay sucks. Period.
–Can you do more harm than good by holing yourself up on Halloween and turning your porch light off so that no one knows your home? Most likely, yes. You don’t necessarily have to send your kids out dressed as devils and demons, but you shouldn’t necessarily shut your door to your neighbors either. Is there anything wrong with giving candy and treats to your neighbors’s kids? No. The fact that it’s Halloween doesn’t make it wrong either- if there’s nothing wrong with it on October 30 or November 1st, then why not on October 31st? If a neighbor willingly knocks on your door and initiates conversation, they can’t get mad at you for taking the opportunity to get to know them better. They’re the ones on your property, not the other way around. Take the chance to strike up a conversation that’s actually worth something! Is that easy? No. Can I give you lots of tips and how-to’s to evangelize to a trick-or-treater at your doorstep? No…and that’s not necessarily my point. But if they knock on your door that night and you see them outside the next morning, guess what? You have the perfect opportunity to say hello and comment on how cute their kids are. They were adorable! How old are they? Where do they go to school? Oh, my kids go to so-and-so. Where do y’all go to church? Oh, well we’re going to such-and-such and they’ve got this thing going on this month…yada, yada, yada..you should come! And just like that, opening your door to a mom with her 5-year old kid dressed as a pirate leads to you getting to invite someone to church.
–There are lots of non-christians who base their entire opinion of Christians on things like Halloween. That’s something I didn’t fully realize until I started browsing the web the other day for blogs who mentioned both halloween and Christianity (I go to Technorati.com or google blog search or something, and it will search all of the blogs online for anything you type in. very helpful). Of course I came up with lots of Christians mentioning their views on Halloween, but I also came across LOTS of non-Christians venting about Christians who were either hypocritical or way too judgemental about the holiday. I would post some here, but I don’t want to give anyone bad press. Believe me, though, there were lots of them and they had some not-so-good things to say about Christians and their views on the holiday. We could learn alot from stuff like that. We should always be open to the ways that we alienate others and seek to rectify the situation in a way that is glorifying to God.
Personally, when I have kids I’m going to teach them about and celebrate Reformation Day on October 31st, because what happened on that day is far FAR more important. But I’m not going to forget that millions of others celebrate the day for another reason. Do I have everything figured out about Halloween? No. Obviously, if you’ve been reading along at ALL. All I know is that God brings people in and out of your life in crazy ways, and don’t rule out October 31st as a day when he can put a stranger in your path for you to bring to Him. That’s a day that He made, too, and you shouldn’t dismiss it as otherwise. Maybe it’s not a good idea for us to be all gung-ho in support of Halloween since most people perceive it as a holiday rooted in satanism and filled with goblins, ghouls, witches, and such, but it also shouldn’t be seen as a day that’s void of fellowship and opportunity. Maybe you shouldn’t cover your front lawn in headstones and hang skeletons from your doorway, but you could leave your front porch light on, just in case your neighbor that you’ve lived next to for 3 years but never spoken to happens to drop by. What’s wrong with giving a kid some candy? Nothing. What’s wrong with learning the names of their parents so that you can say hello when you see them checking their mail? Nothing. As Christians, we should already know our neighbors and be in active relationships with them anyway – we should be taking every opportunity available to evangelize in the name of Christ. But do we? Not always. So on the one day of the year when most of your neighbors are going to come knocking on your door VOLUNTARILY, don’t turn your front porch light off. Welcome them in. Compliment their kids’ costumes. Remember their names. Learn something about them that you can mention later. Then make sure to
follow up. God’s giving you an opportunity to GET ACQUAINTED. Take it. Don’t think that he can’t use even a holiday like Halloween for his glory.