Halloween: A beautiful picture of Grace

Well Halloween has come and gone and I am grateful that this year I heard far less “alarmist” Christian Halloween talk than I have in years previous. Maybe it was the distraction of the coming presidential election that kept most evangelicals from thinking about the ‘horrors’ of Halloween, but this year I didn’t hear anyone talking about burning Harry Potter books, or praying against Satan, or dressing their children up as Bible characters.

This year, instead of absenting ourselves from a so-called “pagan” holiday, our church had a community festival. That’s right. On October 31st, All Hallows Eve, Surfside Presbyterian Church had blow-up games and dunking booths. We gave out candy and had a box maze and a pie eating contest and all kinds of kids and parents came and dressed up like princesses and superheroes and some even dressed up like monsters. It was a great time for all and a blessing to our community here in south Myrtle Beach. I thought it was great.

Halloween has always been my favorite holiday. I don’t know why really. It just has. My childhood memories are filled with bags of candy and Charlie Brown’s “The Great Pumpkin”. I loved it…and I still do.  As a matter of fact, out of all the American Holidays, I think that Halloween may be the best at exemplifying the Grace of Jesus Christ. Let’s take a look at it.

On all Hallows Eve, people disguise themselves, dress up like monsters, and go up to a door with an empty bag. They knock on the door and hold out the bag and a neighbor opens the door. The person smiles and says, “Wow, you’re scary! Who are you? Are you a Vampire?” The little kid nods. Then the neighbor laughs and gives the child encouragement, and pours candy into their empty satchel. Doesn’t that sound like the Gospel? It does to me.

The Gospel says that we are all evil monsters who have nothing to offer anyone. We are poor and empty and hiding, walking around begging for someone to fill our empty hearts. Jesus moves into our neighborhood and bids us come in to sup with Him. We knock on Christ’s door and He opens up His home and His heart. “Wow, you’re scary! Who are you?” Jesus asks. “I’m a Vampire. I’m a Witch. I’m a Monster,” we say behind our masks. Then, by the power of the Gospel, Jesus calls us out of hiding.  He forgives us, and heals us, and fills our hearts with the Grace of Christ, not because we deserve it or because we’re cute, but because we really are monsters who desperately the gift of his mercy.

That’s why Halloween is a great picture of the Gospel. It’s a picture of me going to Jesus. Empty, evil, desperate, hiding; and receiving gifts that I cannot buy, and love that I cannot earn. That’s why, at my house, we call Halloween by it’s appropriate name – “Grace Night: A night for monsters to come out of hiding.” For years, this is what I have taught my children. They don’t know that Halloween is a night for “pagan Satan worship”. They think it’s a night to worship Jesus. A night to remember the Grace that we have been given and a night to give Jesus thanks for welcoming Vampires and Witches and Monsters into His loving arms. And all we need to receive His grace is a beggars’ desperate posture.

So next year, when October 31st rolls around, be sure to dress your worst and go door to door begging for candy. Just remember, it’s not Halloween. It’s Grace Night. Don’t forget to bring an empty bag.

8 thoughts on “Halloween: A beautiful picture of Grace

  1. Tim, This is absolutely beautiful! I have always been a lover of Halloween as well. But I’ve never really thought of it in terms of how it relates to the Gospel. But what a perfect analogy! And, with your permission, it’s one that I’ll reference often when I hear folks starting up the fear mongering about Satanists putting razor blades in candy on Halloween.

    Thanks for the reminder that the Gospel is everywhere!

    Pray for me, I’m a sinner,
    -Andrew

    Like

  2. Tim, this is so awesome and wise. This is the reason that i love to read your blog so much. Because you use that wisdom in ways that help you worship God. Awesome!!!!

    Like

  3. Sigh….tsk, tsk, tsk, tsk, tsk…that’s all I can say. You know I love ya bro…and it’s wonderful to see grace and God in everything. I’ve struggled and struggled with this issue of Halloween. My conclusion….please see the “MY” in that statement….putting yourself in the same camp as anything that celebrates evil(even though the intention may not be to celebrate the evil…just the FUN of it) just doesn’t sit right with me in my spirit. Of course we are all accountable for ourselves and no one can judge the other specially not one of the monsters(LOL). I loved the fellowship, kids, fun, laughter, celebration of the fall festival we had the other night. I manned one of the booths. I used to love dressing up for Halloween all those years. However then and now there has always been a shadow on the day…is it within me only…or could it be something else, maybe the big Kahunah rising up inside? If you believe in discernment of the Holy Spirit then you have to ask yourself what it could be. I think the Lord has a huge hand on you and uses you to do His work in a mighty way….you invigorate things and I love it…BUT in this instance I have to agree to disagree with you. Yes it’s a bit of rain on your parade of yea sayers, but there you have it. Given in love from one of your fans….Me(Manuela)!

    Like

  4. I have fans? I have fans!

    Manuela, If you are by conscience constrained to abstain from celebrating Halloween, then I would by all means encourage you to abide by that constraint. If however, the Gospel should free you from that constraint, I would celebrate that with you as well. Thank you for kindly and respectfully offering an alternate view. You are a dear sister.

    Like

  5. I appreciate what you are saying about finding grace even in the halloween holiday, BUT – I have a friend who used to be a practicing witch and she is horrified by seeing Christians celebrate halloween. She says it really is a “high holy day” – one of the two most important of the year – for the wiccan religion, and for us as Christians to celebrate it, it’s like Christians celebrating ramadan, or the birth of mohammed, or whatever. I think it’s one of those things like drinking, you have to be settled in your own heart what is right or wrong, but just remember that those who oppose halloween have a very good reason, and they are following their convictions.

    Like

  6. CJ,

    It should be noted, as Tim pointed out, that Halloween is also a Christian high holy day. The fact that it happens around the Druid practice, is proof that the kingdom of God is growing and the kingdom of the prince of the power of the air is waning. The early Christian Church, particularly the catholic Church, chose to honor Christ at special times throughout the pagan Roman or local calendars to “take every thought captive to Christ.” Hallow’een is a contraction of “All Hallow’s Even” or All Saint’s Day Eve, which was followed by the November 1st commemoration in the Western Church of saints who had died “in Christ.”

    Even to this day, traditionally Christian Latino countries still celebrate the “Day of the Dead” (El Dia de los Muertos) because it is a day to laugh, even in the face of death. And is this not grace? Is this not what Jesus accomplished in his death on the Cross and Resurrection three days later? That death is not the end of all things, but it is the commencement to eternal life? What have we to fear, if Christ has given us all things?

    So we should be gracious and enjoy the day, all days that are now Christ’s. Even Halloween. What the world thinks of as a celebration of evil, we rejoice that good triumphs over evil in Christ, who is over all things Supreme.

    In the Lord,
    Andrew Kercher

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s