Thursday, October 31, 2013

To Treat or Not to Treat?

Today is the only day you can get away with eating candy corn for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Granted, it may hypothetically happen other days, but it always seems to be frowned upon any other time. Case in point by looking at my desk while I type this blog.
I have amazing memories of Halloween. I can still remember which houses on my street gave the good candy or the penny, and which one put out a large tub to bob for apples. The street always seemed to be filled with friends and fun. As a child, Halloween was a win win situation. Dress up in your favorite costume and perfectly good strangers welcomed you to their homes for candy. Score!
 It wasn’t until I was an adult and working at our church’s pumpkin patch that I ever thought much more of the holiday. Our church is on a main street and it is often frequented by the homeless community. A typical encounter with a homeless man may create a tense situation and may cause some to have their guard up higher than normal. But on this day, the tables were turned. The man kept a safe distance from me as if I was the one who had not showered and he didn’t want to be near me.  
He shouted from the sidewalk at me about the evil I was participating in and how the church would be forever cursed because of its evil practices and allowing pumpkins on our property. He was shouting for me to repent and be saved. Needless to say, I was caught off guard. The Bible is clear that we should “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” (1 Peter 3:15). There were no words coming to mind in that moment though. In fact, I had never thought of Halloween in any other way other than the innocent opportunity to dress up and get candy.
Now years later, having kids of my own, I must admit….I STILL feel the same way. It is a perfectly innocent opportunity to dress up and get candy. I have been asked by some about my thoughts in regards to Halloween. I have also noticed an increase in Facebook posts encouraging others to not participate in such an evil holiday.
 I walked out this morning to my car and heard voices. I thought it may just be the candy hangover from trunk or treat the night before, but no. My neighbors woke up feeling quite festive this morning and have hung 4 bloody decapitated bodies, heads, and ghosts on a zip line complete with spooky voices playing from the bushes. It hit me like a lightning bolt; I knew that it was time to be “prepared with our answer” on why we choose to participate.
Like anything and everything in life, all things can be taken too far and used for evil. We choose to pick out costumes and get dressed up. We participate in trunk or treats and school activities. And you better believe we will be trick or treating in our neighborhood. I am choosing to teach my kids that just like anything else, people can make it dark, scary, and anything but God glorifying. We will do our best to be in the world but not of the world and shine the light into the darkness. This is the night when we are welcomed to our neighbor’s doors to boldly introduce ourselves when other days even eye contact is few and far between.  But more importantly, we will do our best to not judge those that DO celebrate and those that DO NOT. We all have a past and a reason as to why we do what we do. I will do my best to welcome unconditionally those that arrive in princess costumes and those that arrive in a (gulp) scary mask.
Every year, I will remember that man from the pumpkin patch when we light our poor South Florida rotting pumpkin and I will thank him for helping us to take a stand in our faith and being prepared with a reason for our hope.

You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16
My hope is that we are all filled with the light of Christ ….and of course chocolate and candy corn!

a little yummy fun.
we couldn't slow the power ranger down
long enough to get a picture.

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