Firstly, Halloween isn’t inherently evil. You can just chuck that idea into the garbage disposal. Here’s a link to get you started with the history lesson, but the short version is that Halloween was originally All Hallows Eve, the day to prepare for All Saints Day (a day to remember and honor the saints passed in glory before us). All Hallows Eve got hijacked by sin. The concept of a pre- saint’s day party really is a great idea so it isn’t surprising everybody wanted in on it. Christians always have the ability to throw a bigger and better party because the Party Creator is our Heavenly Father. Let the good times roll. But we let the pagans claim our Holy Day and now, the voices of fear and misunderstanding far outnumber the beautiful truth and glory of Halloween and All Saints Day. I am happy to pass along more articles (like the one above), but for now, I’m going to take a different approach and just tell you why I need to celebrate Halloween. I’m not going to litter it with references because I’m not making an argument, I’m giving you a look into my perspective. So please take it as such.
I’ve made it no secret that many of my loved ones have died. Beloved grandparents, dear friends, sweet sisters in christ. I have actual brothers and sisters I’ve never met. For a very long, dark period in my life, death was my primary enemy. It held power over me. It made me hopeless. I was at its mercy, afraid. My life’s worthwhileness, course, quality and joy all bound up together and being dangled in front of me just beyond my reach. It was awful.
Death ripped away the loves in my life, one by one. Some were taken in understandable ways, others, they left with heart-wrenching surprise. Cancer, drunk drivers, age, blood clots — those people aren’t with us anymore. I admit that I lost heart and lived oppressed by darkness for many years, hopeless and unsure of my life’s point. But now, by God’s grace and kindness, I have hope again. I know that death won’t have it’s way in the end.
I’m a Christian. I believe that Jesus Christ is Lord and the rest is just cow poop. There are no if ands or buts, God sent His only son, Jesus, from heaven to us to pay the tab that Adam and Eve started in Eden when they sinned against God’s only rule. Sin ravishes, it destroyed, it hates, it kills. To sin is to die a little bit inside. Death feels like the enemy, but it isn’t. Death is the consequence. It is the cost of sin. Sin is the enemy and we are in debt to it. We all owe much more than we can every repay. That is a weight God never designed us to bear. He made us for glory and beauty and strength, remember Genesis? We weren’t meant to live as parched reptiles in the desert, always in search of something good.
I did find hope eventually. It took awhile, but God revealed it to me in His perfect timing, for my good and His glory. And I am going to share it with you : Jesus paid our debt when He died on the cross in our place. Then conquered death when he rose from the grave three days later and thereby became victorious over sin. Sin and death don’t hold us captive anymore. He paid for our sins. We are washed clean. We don’t have to live under sin and death’s thumb any longer. We are free. I will see my loves again; Stephanie, Zoey, Tony, Papa Bear, Grandpa, Grandma, dear Mrs. Garaway. Brothers, sisters, unborn children of my friends and family. Death isn’t the end anymore. It’s not so scary when you think of it that way, is it?
I celebrate All Hallow’s Eve to kick off All Saint’s Day. It is a good endeavor, a way to be strong before confronting the pain of loss. It helps me be brave when I remember those I am afraid to forget. The saints before, the long dead and unmet and the ones I’ve had the privilege of hugging and kissing. I miss them, I remember them. I will share their stories with my children and my grandchildren. These people who God used for their good and His ultimate glory. These are page turners, these stories. You can’t make up this stuff. It’s too good. It’s a big and joyful celebration, looking forward earnestly, eagerly to the day when we can hold our loves in our arms again and laugh together. But right now, in the interim that can seem so very cold and lonely, I choose to bravely stand. Both feet on the ground, firmly planted by my God, look death in the face and let out a full, loud, belly laugh. Death is the fool, it loses, it’s sting is only temporary. We dress up, yes, because it is fun, but also because what we represent as God’s children, is so much more powerful than anything else out there. We shut down sin, we trample death with song and dance. They don’t have power over us anymore.
I know there is a lot of controversy over what Christians should allow their children to dress up as, and while I agree, gruesome costumes are inappropriate, it isn’t because they are wicked (skin and bones and blood, we walk around it in all day) and the scarier they try to make it, the more ridiculous it becomes. We don’t dress up as ghouls and corpses because out of kindness to less mature minds (little bugs), we don’t want to scare their young minds and give them nightmares. What we want is to teach them to be fearless in the face of death! So my son is going as a laughable Count Dracula (blah, blah, blah), another as a T-Rex. A daughter as Mavis (Hotel Transylvania) and a black panther (the kid loves cats!). And I’m going a gypsy. The underling. The outlier. One of the clever ones, like Jacob. Jacob who tricked his father and brother, who wrestled with God and never quite was the same again. Jacob who God blessed. I’m going as that type of character.
We’ve carved our pumpkins and made hot cider. We’ve made graveyard style 7 layer dip for a potluck, painted our nails and bought candy (the good stuff, not oatmeal treats) to share with our neighbors. We will be trick or treating, unashamed, and completely confident in Christ. Our confidence in Him and what He did, that He owns death, it is why we can celebrate with merriment. God owns all this, the earth and everything in it. Witches, magic, black cats (ours is named Guster, by the way), skeletons, graveyards, blood and guts (He made them wonderful and incredible and kinda gross). Sin is prideful, and it hates to be mocked, we overcome it with our joy and our laughter. We take all the scary things and remind them that they belong to Christ the King. Like I said, this is good news, let the good times roll.
PS I don’t really use recipes, but if you cut open a gutted pumpkin into slices (think watermelon), drizzle it with olive oil or grapeseed oil (higher smoke point), season with salt and pepper and roast in the oven until tender, all you have to do is puree the whole thing (skin included) wth cream and chicken broth and season to taste for amazing pumpkin soup!