Everyone loves a celebration right? A time to be joyous, laugh and socialise with others. The dictionary defines celebration as: the action of celebrating an important day or event. So when we think of celebrating we are observing whatever the occasion may be, as something of importance, meaningful and not just a ‘sake of it’ event. There is a purpose in mind and if participating in a celebration or attending an event, I’d like to think we know the reason behind it and not engaging blindly.
Tomorrow is Halloween and hundreds of thousands of people across the world, believers and non-believers are going to be actively observing and celebrating by dressing up as witches, wizards or their favourite celebrity - many under the belief of it just being a bit of ‘fun’.
Halloween dates back to the late 1800’s and is rooted in the pagan Celtic Samhain festival but was later adapted by the Protestant and Catholic missionaries as a prelude to All Saints day on the 1st of November. This narrative is similar to a few other Gregorian Christian celebrations like Christmas and Easter - which have its roots in Druidic and pagan traditions that were later adopted by Christians and different aspects were added.
As Christians living in a world that is quickly moving towards a ‘do as thou wilt’ way of life, if one is not careful to guard minds, ears, eyes and hearts diligently - we may get caught up in a rhythm that is not conducive to our growth or spiritual well-being and mistakenly label it ‘normal’.
Is it normal and acceptable for a Christian to celebrate Halloween? Can it just be innocent fun? Can we really engage in worldly events and put a Christian twist on it? What do we do and not do as believers when it comes to holidays like Halloween that seem more overtly dark and other superstitious habits or traditions we may have? Let’s unpack four passages to help us reach a conclusion:
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
When you cross the road because of the black cat or avoid the cracks in the pavement, what comes to mind? Fear, anxiety and dread or good and enriching thoughts? The above verse really encourages us to think about our thoughts and actions. In this day and age whereby, we are overloaded with options, it has never been more important to be intentional.
All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify.
1 Corinthians 10:23
When working out the purpose behind something always ask yourself if it builds you up and if it’s constructive. Remember that our battle is not against flesh and blood but daily we are engaged in spiritual warfare. Just because something seems harmless always think about the effect it can be having on your soul and ask God to open the eyes of your heart so you can see things as He sees them. Do your research, prioritise the well-being of your spirit and pray for discernment.
Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that.
Make up your mind on what you want the new standard to be for you and your family. This is especially true if there are children at home. You can’t leave it up to them to decide what you commemorate or celebrate, as they face external influences so are not in the position to make impartial decisions. So, once you decide what festivities you would like to honour, be proactive in creating new traditions and get rid of the ones that don’t bring life and glory to the Word of God.
One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind.
Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord. Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God.
Romans 14:5- 6
We all have to move on our own convictions and we can’t allow our own opinions about a holiday to cause division in the body of Christ, nor can we use our freedom to cause others to stumble in their faith. Once you have done your own research and reached a conclusion on the matter, give others the same grace, time and resources to reach their own conclusion. And rather than starting a crusade to condemn everyone that may celebrate a festivity you don’t condone, why not seize the opportunity to spend time with loved ones or use it as a time to share the Gospel from a place of love or even just rest during these holidays.
Fundamentally, we are called to be set apart, chosen, royal, holy and an unconventional group of people who do not blindly just follow the ways of the world (1 Peter 2:9). Our God is creative and full of life; He has outlined numerous feasts, celebrations and opportunities to fellowship in the Bible and doesn’t need to draw on any inspiration from the world when it comes to festivities.
To round up - The simple do's and don't's for Halloween are: Do your research, don't engage blindly.
Words by Dorcas Payne