October is not my favorite month of the year. I’m feeling the desolation. The bitter depths of February can make you cabin-fever crazed, but October is the definitive end of a summer’s sweetness that may have stretched out gracefully through September. One day there’s double-digit temps and sunshine, and the next, frigid chill is whipping around. This week, ferocious winds blew the last of the leaves off, and the grass, which was hanging on manfully to a lovely green, finally gave up the battle. Winter’s blast is come from around the corner.
Honestly, it’s not just the seasonal change that’s an issue. October has an ominous pall to it that disquiets me all month long. I feel a dark void; with good reason. What was once the ‘celebration’ of a single day at the tail end of a long month, has managed to usurp thirty-one solid days. Yes, I’m talking about Halloween. This theatre of the grotesque deeply grieves my spirit; it has, ever since I was a child. How is it that Halloween has grown in such popularity and importance that it’s actually rivaling Christmas with all the fuss? There’s such an escalation, a magnification, of attention being paid to it. What’s so horrible about mild, kindergarten-level tricks-and-treats, for the kiddies to enjoy, you ask? I’ve searched for years for a gentler, more moderate stance on the issue, and never found one. For the sincere believer, there simply isn’t one. It is written: “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.” (Ephesians 5:11)
Let me offer a balancing voice as to why this festival is not the least bit benign. I’m not even going to pretend political correctness. Firstly, and primarily, Halloween is an open derision of everything the Christian faith reveres as sacred. It actually blasphemes Jesus’s name, as well as His blood sacrifice, the cross, and His resurrection. Halloween magnifies every enemy of mankind Jesus died to save us from. It ritually and openly exalts the true nature of Satan’s kingdom. In a cultural age so devoid of the foundational knowledge of God, Scripture and the fellowship of true believers, occult power is able to fill the void and enchant the masses. You may call me puritanical, prudish, a religious fanatic….but hocus-pocus has real substance.
Though spiritual in nature, the realm of the underworld is an actual place. Satan’s domain is comprised of demons, and their various manifestations: ghosts, ghouls, spectres, familiar spirits and other psychic voices. Sheol, or Hell, is the realm of Death, dying and the unsaved dead. It is the root source of sin, rebellion, temptation, terror, torment, and the full arsenal of negative, soul-killing emotion. The Prince of Darkness has a personal mandate to ‘kill, steal, and destroy’ what is yours on every level (John 10:10). The quintessential egomaniac, Satan takes any attention that is given to His kingdom or minions as worship. Whether you like it or not, whether you acknowledge it or not, you are a creature created to worship. Why would you choose to worship your mortal enemy? Why would you welcome him to fill the atmosphere in which you inhabit?
When you consider this practice logically and scripturally, it makes absolutely no sense. Instead, we need to consider the problem viscerally. The world of celebrity offers a powerful microcosm of repeating patterns that may help us understand. Top comedians, such as Robin Williams, Ray Combs, and Freddie Prinze, (to name just a handful), all at the very apex of successful careers, committed suicide. Why? This subset of highly intelligent, talented individuals were intense observers of life and human nature. What they found there caused them to despair, even while they turned it into their comedic routines. Basically, if they didn’t laugh at it all, they would cry. Contempt pulled them into a deep depression that eventually overtook them. This is the same weird paradox that surrounds the warp of Halloween. We do not have a vocabulary for unholy fear….so we scorn it.
Ghosts, witches, zombies, and all the blood and gore surrounding this thrall, absolutely fascinate people, because they are terrified of death and dying. They are toying and trifling, mocking and masquerading with the thing they fear most. Like a venomous snake hypnotizing a small creature in its gaze, they can’t look away from the face of their tormentor. As they don’t know the awe of the living God, they are haunted by a far lesser creature. Come out of the squalid shadows in to the good news! Jesus has completely decimated Satan’s domain. He Himself has gone down into the very bowels of Hell, and taken all authority out of his hands. We simply don’t need to be traumatized by sin, death, hell or the Devil one minute more. The Lord says clearly “I have come that they might have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). Receive Life, and let the Lord drive all hellish celebration off your doorstep forever.
There are certain aspects of life that need to be held untouchably holy. They’re non-negotiable. Neglect this, deride the sacred, and the bottom falls out. Our awe (holy fear) and worship must be reserved for the one who made us…the only one worthy of it.
…Giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. Col 1:12-13
I hate you Halloween. You are a brazen spectacle and a sworn foe. I’ll hate you until I draw my last breath, when I march unscathed, right through Death into Heaven, and prove you a liar. Then, I’m going to find a cushy seat with a stellar view in the balcony, and watch grand finale pyrotechnics; your last gasp. I hear it’s going to be a really big show.