It’s Monday. The day most dread due to its’ inevitable role in requiring us to awake from our weekends away from the office or the classroom or the hospital or the shop or wherever you are. Not only is today Monday, it’s Halloween—a controversial holiday amongst the conservative Christian community. SO if you wonder where I stand on this particular topic, you should know that I love it. I love getting to know my neighbors, I love creating original costumes, I love carving pumpkins and I love having an endless supply of bribes for Mr. Martell (let’s be honest, you bribe your kids with treats, too.)
Happy Halloween on a Monday, friends. If today isn’t an exhausting way to begin the week, I’m not sure what is, but nonetheless, most of us dress up and we collect candy or dish it out at the door and put our sugar-highed kids to bed with a sigh and the thought, “Whew! Until next year, Halloween!” Tomorrow there will be coffee. Lots and lots of coffee.
These are the days, though. The ones that will somehow stick in their little memories as being significant. At least they are to me—I remember much of my childhood, but a significant portion of my memories are tied to holidays—even Halloween. I remember being five and my mom dressing me in a clown costume that my Great Grandma Pratt made for my sister (who is thirteen years older than me). She put red lipstick on my lips and around them, and I cried because I was embarrassed by the lipstick being on my face. I distinctly remember her explaining that clowns’ lips are big, and that it was just a part of the costume, but my kindergarten self just didn’t think I could face my friends who were dressed as Snow White and Sleeping Beauty. Already, at the young age of five, I cared too much what others thought.
But I’ll tell you what, I look back at those pictures and I am thankful. I’m thankful that I felt safe playing in my neighborhood because I got to know the people around us on holidays like Halloween. I was looked out for, and it was known who I belonged to because my parents walked with us to each door and chatted with each neighbor ever-so briefly, slowly creating a bond each time those brief interactions built upon one another.
In today’s culture of hustle and bustle, it’s rare that we get to really know the people that share a street with us, or heck, who share a driveway with us! On my rush to the gym, I oftentimes can’t be bothered to have any sort of extended interaction with our neighbor, Alberto, because heaven forbid I’m late to my workout class. We have attached garages so we can open the door, park our car, close the door and never set foot on common ground with the people who live beside us. We wear headphones so people know not to bother us during out quiet times or time to ourselves. We avoid driving through “bad neighborhoods” and we certainly can’t get dressed up for the “devil’s holiday” for fear we would represent something other than the lonely Christians who only interact with other Christians. (Did I just say that?)
I’m not sure what you guys think of Halloween, but I urge you to look closely at our Jesus. He left heaven to come into the brokenness of our world so that we could know God. He didn’t stay withdrawn—He didn’t leave us alone in our darkness.
What would it look like for us—you and me, dear brothers and sisters, to learn to love Halloween and redeem its history of spiritual darkness to bring an unquenchable light to the outside world. Would it be more like Jesus than turning off our lights and pretending that our refusal to acknowledge it would be more productive than engaging with it uprightly, with tasteful costumes, tasty treats, and deep love for our neighbors? I don’t know, you tell me. How else will Jesus be made known? We must leave our safe-havens friends, for that’s what our Jesus did. Let’s know and invite and include and be generous and meet the needs that go beyond the physical—but attempt to meet the needs of the heart with the One who holds them all.
Have candy at the door, tonight—and a smile and a love for each and every person who knocks.