This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24
I am in the final stages of my latest book, Satan’s Worst Nightmare. I am awaiting the final cover design, some endorsements, and contributions for the final chapter where there will be other people’s perspectives and memories of the production that presented the gospel to our community every Halloween Night for fifteen years.
I’d like to share with you a portion of one of the early chapters, when the inspiration first hit. The rest of the book is about the outreach, its evolution (pardon the expression), the trials and tribulations, answered prayers, lessons learned, and the faithfulness of God as He took a handful of “nobodies” and used them for His glory.
As a Christian I have almost always been uncomfortable with Halloween. As far back as my early college days (as a normal college student, not the “will-this-ever-end?” years of working at staying certified) I was hearing about the evils of celebrating this unholy day. Some were saying it was rooted in Wicca, others pointed out that for Satanists it was one of their highest (un)holy days, and why would any God-fearing Christian want to take part in pagan rituals associated with witches, corpses, and evil spirits?
Some pointed out that it was actually “All-Hallows Eve,” the day before All Saints Day, but I failed to see the connection between the saints of God and skeletons and zombies demanding treats from their neighbors and vandalizing the property of those who didn’t comply.
Various churches had celebrations, benignly labeled “harvest parties,” and advised the parents that their children should be dressed in “nice” costumes. But invariably there would be at least one visitor dressed in something “icky,” and the adults would be left with the dilemma, whether to compromise and allow the evil influence, or kick the visitor out and leave the impression that Christians are not a very friendly bunch.
One Halloween alternative was proposed by a speaker at a women’s conference. She told us that to make sure their children had fun and didn’t regret missing the parties too much, her family started their Christmas shopping on October 31. I thought how hard it was for my children to wait for Christmas, even starting around Thanksgiving. A two-month wait would be agonizingly impractical for our family.
When Ben and Joanna were little, I did conform a little to the traditions, keeping the costumes benign and taking the tykes only to the homes of friends. The first year Joanna was aware of the costume idea, she insisted on being a refrigerator, and we had a good time covering a cardboard box with shiny white contact paper and decorating the front of it with pictures of food from magazines. I then added a cardboard “door” that opened and closed `over the collage, which we appropriately adorned with children’s drawings and report cards, stuck on with “magnets.” What I hadn’t factored into the planning was the difficulty of getting the small refrigerator into and out of the car as I drove her around town to my friends’ homes, a task made more difficult by the fact that I was at the time eight months’ pregnant with Ben.
In the ensuing years Joanna and Ben always came up with some creative ideas, such as an ear of corn, a crayon, and a turtle, for which we made use of Ben’s flying saucer before the snow began to fly.
Halloween then was a time of church “harvest parties,” cute costumes, and having Christian tracts on hand to give to anyone who came to our door on the big night. As we lived on a busy street with very few children, there were always ample treats leftover at the end of the evening, and I could breathe a sigh of relief as I turned out the lights and handed the bowl of sweets to the rest of the family, happy that I could avoid the questionable holiday and its accompanying guilt for another year.
The “AHA!” Moment
Years later, when Joanna and Ben were too old to trick-or-treat, and Kelly, our third child, was still a tiny tot, I was driving to the home of Kelly Tucker, my prayer partner, for a prayer walk, and something got on my last nerve…
As I made the trip from Port Huron to St. Clair, everywhere I looked there were symbols of death – tombstones, skeletons half buried in the ground, mummies, fake corpses hanging from trees, and of course the ever-present “Grim Reaper,” all draped in cobwebs, (My house has enough of those, thank you.) and creeping spiders, rats, and other vermin.
As Kelly opened the door, I blurted, “If Christians celebrated life half as much as the world celebrates death, we could really make an impact!”
I don’t think Kelly had any idea what I meant by “celebrating life” – I certainly didn’t. But she caught the fire in my eyes and the passion in my voice and declared,
“Let’s do it! We can use my yard.”
Prayer: LORD, we know that You are the Creator, the Source of everything good. Thank You for giving us inspiration and letting us share the pleasure of creating. As we keep our eyes fixed on You, continue to fill us with the inspiration for fresh new ways to tell the world the greatest story ever told, in Jesus’ name, Amen.