Turn the lights on this Halloween
by Alastair Gledhill, Resource Development and Online Engagement Consultant
How do you feel as Halloween approaches each year?
For many children, their feeling is one of excitement. They look forward to ‘trick-or-treating,’ and the haul of sugary treats they will be collecting from their neighbours.
Others might face it with trepidation. Halloween is associated with darkness, and the sight of children dressed as witches and ghosts can be concerning or even distressing.
For me, growing up, Halloween made me embarrassed. In a desire to avoid any trick-or-treaters who might visit, we spent the evening playing a ‘trick’ of our own. The curtains were drawn shut and the lights were turned off as we pretended we weren’t in. I don’t think the local kids were at all convinced by our ploy, and we had the eggs on the front door to prove it!
Excitement; fear; embarrassment. As Halloween has approached this year, though, I have been reading some words from the apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians and have found three different feelings which have changed my attitudes and fuelled my prayers.
The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God (2 Corinthians 4:4)
Halloween is a festival of darkness. An old Christian custom was to parade the forces of evil on All Hallows Eve before celebrating the salvation of the saints on All Hallows Day. Halloween reminds us that evil is prevalent in this present age, pointing us to the need of salvation in Christ.
The Bible teaches us that those who don’t know Christ as Lord do indeed live in darkness. The devil is real and he is active in the world, blinding the minds of unbelievers so they cannot see the light of the gospel. When we see the forces of darkness being shown off to the world, we ought to pray with compassion for those who cannot see the light.
For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake (2 Corinthians 4:5)
Children might be knocking on our doors searching for sweets and chocolates, but we are convinced we have something much better to offer them. The good news of the gospel is that Jesus Christ is Lord, and Halloween provides an opportunity to make our conviction known among our neighbours.
Some excellent tracts are available which are specifically designed for giving to trick-or-treaters at Halloween. For instance, A Friend in the Dark, available from the Good Book Company, has games and activities as well as a message about Jesus the King of light.
Halloween is an opportunity for door-to-door evangelism, and you don’t even need to leave the house!
For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ (2 Corinthians 4:6)
As we pray and preach Christ this Halloween, we can have confidence. In the midst of the darkness, Jesus the light of the world is shining. The same God who shone light into darkness at creation is now shining light into the darkness of the hearts of human beings, enabling them to know him in the person of Christ.
He has said he will do it; he has done it for us; he will do it for others. So this Halloween, with compassion for the lost and with conviction of Jesus as Lord, we can pray with confidence that the light of Christ is banishing darkness and bringing many to glory.
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