About this time last year, I wrote a note on Facebook which ended up being a controversial and very hot topic. I thought it might be time to share it again….I highly recommend you view the original post and read the dialogue that followed. There were a lot of good, true, and important things said.
I was very disappointed to see that.
Sure, I expect people to have harvest parties and alternatives to Halloween, but for that many Christians to actually celebrate Halloween? Unbelievable.
But, some might reason, there’s nothing in the Bible that says you can’t get dressed up and go ask for candy!
Although there are no direct references to the holiday in the Bible, God is very clear about pagan and witchcraft practices—and that’s exactly what Halloween is.
Here’s some background (from Wikipedia):
The term Halloween (and its alternative rendering Hallowe’en) is shortened from All-hallow-even, as it is the eve of “All Hallows’ Day”, also which is now known as All Saints’ Day. Some modern Halloween traditions developed out of older pagan traditions, especially surrounding the Irish holiday Samhain, a day associated both with the harvest and otherworldly spirits. Irish and Scottish immigrants carried versions of the tradition to North America in the nineteenth century. Other western countries embraced the holiday in the late twentieth century. Halloween is now celebrated in several parts of the western world, most commonly in Ireland, the US, Canada, Puerto Rico, and the United Kingdom and occasionally in parts of Australia and New Zealand.
Many European cultural traditions, in particular Celtic cultures, hold that Halloween is one of the liminal times of the year when spirits can make contact with the physical world, and when magic is most potent (according to, for example, Catalan mythology about witches and Scottish and Irish tales of the Sidhe).
The celebration has some elements of a festival of the dead. The ancient Celts believed that the border between this world and the Otherworld became thin on Samhain, allowing spirits (both harmless and harmful) to pass through. The family’s ancestors were honoured and invited home whilst harmful spirits were warded off. It is believed that the need to ward off harmful spirits led to the wearing of costumes and masks. Their purpose was to disguise oneself as a harmful spirit and thus avoid harm. In Scotland the spirits were impersonated by young men dressed in white with masked, veiled or blackened faces. Samhain was also a time to take stock of food supplies and slaughter livestock for winter stores. Bonfires played a large part in the festivities. All other fires were doused and each home lit their hearth from the bonfire. The bones of slaughtered livestock were cast into its flames. Sometimes two bonfires would be built side-by-side, and people and their livestock would walk between them as a cleansing ritual.
When the Romans occupied Celtic territory, several Roman traditions were also incorporated into the festivals. Feralia, a day celebrated in late October by the Romans for the passing of the dead as well as a festival which celebrated the Roman Goddess Pomona, the goddess of fruit were incorporated into the celebrations. The symbol of Pomona was an apple, which is a proposed origin for the tradition of bobbing for apples on Halloween.
Other traditions include carving lanterns from turnips or rutabagas, sometimes with faces on them, as is done in the modern tradition of carving pumpkins. Welsh, Irish and British myth are full of legends of the Brazen Head, which may be a folk memory of the ancient Celtic practice of headhunting. The heads of enemies may have decorated shrines, and there are tales of the heads of honored warriors continuing to speak their wisdom after death. The name jack-o’-lantern can be traced back to the Irish legend of Stingy Jack, a greedy, gambling, hard-drinking old farmer. He tricked the devil into climbing a tree and trapped him by carving a cross into the tree trunk. In revenge, the devil placed a curse on Jack, condemning him to forever wander the earth at night with the only light he had: a candle inside of a hollowed turnip. The carving of pumpkins is associated with Halloween in North America where pumpkins are both readily available and much larger- making them easier to carve than turnips Many families that celebrate Halloween carve a pumpkin into a frightening or comical face and place it on their doorstep after dark. The American tradition of carving pumpkins preceded the Great Famine period of Irish immigration and was originally associated with harvest time in general, not becoming specifically associated with Halloween until the mid-to-late 1800s.
(For more visit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halloween)
So, when you think about whether or not to celebrate Halloween, keep these verses in mind:
For example, never sacrifice your son or daughter as a burnt offering. And do not let your people practice fortune-telling or sorcery, or allow them to interpret omens, or engage in witchcraft, or cast spells, or function as mediums or psychics, or call forth the spirits of the dead. Anyone who does these things is an object of horror and disgust to the Lord.
‘Now a man or a woman who is a medium or a spiritist shall surely be put to death. They shall be stoned with stones, their bloodguiltiness is upon them.’
1 Chronicles 10:13-14
Saul died because he was unfaithful to the LORD; he did not keep the word of the LORD and even consulted a medium for guidance, and did not inquire of the LORD. So the LORD put him to death and turned the kingdom over to David son of Jesse.
The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Don’t participate in the things these people do. For though your hearts were once full of darkness, now you are full of light from the Lord, and your behavior should show it! For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true. Try to find out what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, rebuke and expose them. It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret.
1 Thessalonians 5:22
Avoid every kind of evil.
I do not celebrate Halloween. I never have. We don’t have harvest parties or any alternatives to Halloween at my church. We haven’t in over a decade. Why create an alternative to a thoroughly wicked, evil, and disgusting thing? How do Christians stand out as if we participate in the most sinful holiday of the year?
When someone asks me about Halloween, I tell them I don’t acknowledge it. Why? Because Having intimacy with Jesus means refusing to do or even think certain things-things that are acceptable for others become unacceptable for us.
Halloween? What’s that?
In a word: passionate. About Jesus, church, ministry, music, reading, family, friends, and sometimes even iced skinny soy mochas.