Family Matters—Creative Blessings for Halloween
With Halloween coming up, this time of year I always need to shift focus a bit because churchy people can get real sensitive or uncertain about what to do with Halloween. While I don’t see Jesus getting all excited about glorifying blood and gore, I don’t see Jesus shying away from death either, as if it can somehow be avoided, which might give a clue to what we can do with Halloween as a tool for our discipleship.
The big question (I’ve already been asked too!) is “What are you gonna be for Halloween?” I would love to say “I want to be a blessing!” but I don’t think that’s what the question is about! If it’s your own kids asking, it’s a great time to talk about things like death and evil from a Jesus perspective. While I don’t know if vampires and goblins are “real,” the evil they represent certainly are, and there’s a difference between having fun with dress up and glorifying blood, violence and gore. Even dressing as witches, vampires and pirates might not be all bad, when the kids, too, recognize the difference between play-acting and glorifying the evil the costumes often bring to mind. A great scripture to share in these conversations might be Romans 8:38, with Paul’s long list ending in the bold proclamation that NOTHING can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord!
Like so many other facets of life, people have even turned Halloween into a competition to see who can have the “best” costume, yard décor (there’s now a twelve foot tall ghoulie of some sort just down the block...), haunted house or what have you. Which does, in fact, bring us back to this month’s memory verse-- “Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.” Luke 12:15 (NLT). A great reminder for our kids that the cost/quality of our costume/candy/decor/haunted house experience, is no measure of real value.
And don’t forget the rare opportunity to be an intentional blessing that Halloween offers too—how often do you get the opportunity to have strangers knocking on your door, begging for a sweet blessing? That blessing doesn’t have to just be the “best” candy on the block, but can be a blessing of other sorts, inviting you to bring out your Halloween creativity in a blessing kind of way. Similar to another recent memory verse, St. Paul reminds us of the power and opportunity for turning everything we do into a blessing, when we are intentional about how we do it- “and whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Col. 3: 17).
Getting creative with the season—Rev. Jim
James R. Lewis, PhD--
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