Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Redeeming Halloween

You probably know where this is going, but… Do you think a Christian should join the culture in celebrating a holiday with pagan origins, that involves continuing pagan traditions, and that has become completely material and secular? Most Christians—other than a few fringe elements—still find enough to like and redeem in Christmas so yeah… you probably would say yes.

We may not like many aspects of the Christmas season, but most of us use the season to focus on aspects of the Gospel and to remind ourselves of important Christian truths. All that and it is also a fun time of year with rich traditions and fond memories.

Halloween may not seem like an analogous situation, but it is. Both Halloween and Christmas are holidays that were pagan in origin but given Christian significance by the church that tied into the celebrations that existed before. In the same way that many Christians choose to avoid some of the negatives of Christmas and focus on the good parts, the same can be done for Halloween.

Dressing up in costumes, carving pumpkins, bobbing for apples, telling spooky stories and watching Charlie Brown specials are all things that don’t have to pose a problem for Christian families and can build some fond memories and traditions. Halloween is also a time to remind us of the spiritual realities and dangers that exist in the world. We should take those dangers seriously, but also remind ourselves that Christ has overcome them and that they pose no fear for us in Him.

In fact, a complete avoidance of Halloween can create two problems for Christian families: First, we make such things more attractive an appealing to our kids. There is nothing quite as interesting as the forbidden. Second, we remove ourselves from one of the best opportunities to engage the culture with spiritual truth.

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