My childhood memories of late October in Maryland are anchored by the signs attached to the changing of the seasons. One of the joys to this region is that each calendar year we get to experience four distinct weather patterns. The weather changes bring a visual change to our landscape as well. From the snow of winter to the rain of spring, the heat of summer to the orange leaves of autumn, we are blessed to mark our lives in part by the distinct nature of each time of year.
An additional memory marker for this time of year is Halloween. Our family was not active in practicing any faith during my early childhood and so the question about the origins of Halloween or its usefulness to the glory of God never crossed my mind. Now as an adult Christian, a father, and a Christian leader I’ve had to grapple with how and which celebrations we should participate.
Here’s where I land with Halloween: Be “THAT House”.
You can decide to protest a secular holiday if you would like or you could decide to be “THAT House” and become known in your community for generosity and Jesus. Trust me, I’ve heard the arguments against allowing kids to dress up and ‘Trick Or Treat’ and I’ve found the arguments wanting. It’s amazing to me that many of the same churches that will spend time railing against the evils of the celebration will simultaneously offer ‘fall festivals’. Really? I digress.
I believe that Christians should leverage every opportunity short of sin to reach people with the love of Christ.
You remember “THAT House” don’t you? It’s the house that you always wanted to be sure you visited because you knew that they gave out the best candy. Maybe they were“THAT House” because they gave away the biggest candy bars. Maybe they were “THAT House” because they were the most fun and most kind neighbors on your block!
Each October, I encourage our church members to become known as ‘THAT House’.
We distribute business cards that serve as invitations to our church. Our members tape the business cards to the BIG candy bars and they welcome their neighbors with warmth and enthusiasm. In this way, we make an effort to become “THAT House” in our neighborhoods.
I also take time to remind our members that in order to become ‘THAT House’ we have to adopt this new way of thinking throughout the entire year.
We can become“THAT House” by participating in neighborhood activities, mowing a neighbor’s grass, taking time to hear your neighbor’s stories and finding ways to strategically show love.
28 And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’
31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” – Mark 12:28-31
Halloween 101: Loving neighbors and inviting them to meet Christ.
(Since people try to abuse bible verses to hate on ‘Trick Or Treating’, here are a few misapplied scriptures to give in return.)
How to leverage the day and become “THAT House”.
- Procreate cute kids. (Gen 1:28)
- Have said kids dress up. (Gen 41:42)
- Decorate the yard. (1 Cor 3:6)
- Give out good candy. (Psalm 119:103)
- Include themed invite cards to @captivatechurch. (Matthew 5:15-16)