I love Halloween. It’s true. Usually, I still dress up. My children love to put on costumes and collect candy from our neighbors. Often times we have people over, or are invited to someone’s house where we just enjoy good times. Halloween puts a smile on my face. It reflects the joy and frivolous generosity of my Heavenly Father—which is one of the many reasons I love it. Consider a few more reasons.
1. My Children Smile, Laugh, and Play
On Halloween my kids can’t stop laughing and giggling. They’ve found the best costume they can and wear it all day long. They go door to door and ask the neighbors for candy. The other children smile, laugh, and play as well. They have more sugar coursing through their veins than should be legally allowed. They simply have a lot of fun.
I love seeing my children happy—as a father their joy is my joy. I love to hear their little laughs and screams of delight as they run back to me as we walk and show me what they got from the next door neighbor. This reminds me of the Father’s joy over his children. He really loves us and delights in giving us infinite joy. He celebrates our joys and delights. He works for our good and his glory in all things. Halloween reminds me of Heavenly Father’s joy in his children’s joy in Christ.
2. My Neighbors Are Known
Think about this—what other day of the year can you walk through your neighborhood, knock on your neighbors door, and not have them shut off the lights and hide? On that day, it’s permissible and even expected that you take your children to your neighbor’s home and ask for candy. It would be very strange in our culture except on Halloween.
Jesus came to seek and save the lost. I ask myself: Would he go to the home of the “worst” person on the block? Would he “trick-or-treat” the grumpiest, most miserly person on the street? I think he would. He would find the person with no joy or hope and would knock on their door and bless them.
Halloween reminds me that Christ came to my home. He knocked on my door, not to receive anything, but to give me a blessing. He came and rescued me from my outright rebellion and pride. He came to my house to love me and know me.
I love Halloween and the opportunity to go to my neighbor’s homes merely because it reminds me of the pursuit of Christ for the lost. I get to put my costume on, bundle up the kids, and visit those who I wouldn’t normally hang out with. Halloween reminds me that I am a missionary (and so are you) in our neighborhoods.
3. The Generous Are Known
Guess who my children talked about after Halloween last year? The home that gave out the King-Sized Snicker Bars. He wasn’t skimpy and didn’t just give one little “fun sized” bag of M&M’s. He went all out and bought the good stuff, the best candy. And all the kids talked about the extravagantly generous home at the end of the street. They love that house!
Jesus was the generous one with all he did for us. I want to be like him. He came and gave everything for us and it cost him everything. He gave the best! He gave the most!
On Halloween, I’m challenged to display the love of Christ by my generosity. Just as my family goes around the neighborhood, the neighborhood comes to my home too! I can either display a judgmental, self-righteous, Pharisaical attitude and condemn every kid that comes by my house for dressing like a ghost or vampire or something silly like that. Or, I can display the prodigal love of God (which means “wastefully extravagant”) and give the best candy and have the most fun and be the house that the neighborhood kids are talking about. I can display the generous love of God by the generous way I live towards those who are far from God.
I want to encourage you this year to display the love of God on Halloween. Have fun! Go visit your neighbors. Be wastefully extravagant and generous. Live in such a way that your neighbors might just begin to ask, “What’s the reason for their joy and hope?” You may just win an opportunity to tell them about the love of God! I’m praying for that already.
Jeremy Writebol (@jwritebol) has been training leaders in the church for over fourteen years. He is the author of everPresent: How the Gospel Relocates Us in the Present (GCD Books, 2014) and writes at jwritebol.net. He is the pastor of Woodside Bible Church’s Plymouth, MI campus.