Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Halloween & Jesus

Approved Christian Costume
Halloween is one of those events that generates discord among Christian parents and churches. Some advocate total abstinence from any hint of this celebration, some compromise and attend church "harvest" festivals and dress their kids as cute little puppies and Bible characters, and others dive right in with the rest of the community. 

Before I say another word I will "show my hand" and let you know that I am in the third category. We carve pumpkins that sometimes look ridiculous and that sometimes look scary. Our boys go "trick or treating" and I steal all the Butterfingers and Peanut Butter Cups from their loot. Past costumes include pirates, zombies, The Headless Horsemen, Egyptian gods. cute little puppies, dragons, magicians, and Jedi Knights. In preparation we watch movies like Spiderwick Chronicles, Aliens in the Attic, and of course It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown. 

Costume of Crazy Bible Guy
Halloween is one of those activities that most people in America celebrate and I think it would be a shame if every Christian hid inside our doors on this night. It reminds me of the time Jesus took his young disciples to Ceasarea Philippi where it was known that people sacrificed to the god Pan and to Caesar. At this place where true evil was taking place, Jesus told his disciples that "on this Rock I will build my church". Jesus declared that the collective gathering of Christians would grow in the very places where people were desperate for hope and prosperity and where they turned to false gods for comfort. Jesus knew He would triumph over evil so instead of being seclusive, He was present. 

Another great moment in Scripture we see Jesus show up at the Pools of Bethesda. These were medicinal pools outside of Jerusalem. These pools became known as a place where the god of healing, Asclepion, was worshipped. Jesus went to this place where no Rabbi would dare be found and he offered healing to someone who was suffering for many years. If Jesus was afraid of being in a place where false gods were worshipped, this man's suffering would have continued. Instead of being exclusive, Jesus was present. 

Life-size costume of Moses.
The 10 Commandments are included!
I'm not trying to convince you to change your convictions, buy a demon costume, and play with a Ougi Board in the name of Christ. I simply want to remind you that Jesus came into a world full of people who are broken and hurting and He met them where they were. He was accused of being a drunkard and glutton and some attempted to insult him by calling him, "a friend of sinners". 

If your faith causes you to abstain from all things Halloween, by all means follow your convictions. But be okay with those of us who join in with our culture on a pretty fun night. Be happy that there are many of us who love Jesus, love dressing up in ridiculous costumes, and who love hanging out with our neighbors. (Even the neighbors who dress like Satan and try to scare the hell out of little children). Also remember that Jesus will build his church even in the most broken and desperate places on earth... and the gates of hell will not prevail. 

Happy Halloween! 


Sara Rosenbaum said...

Ryan those costumes cracked me up! Nice post.

Annelise @ Aunie Sauce said...

This is really good! An anonymous commenter shared your post with me, since I also wrote about Halloween today. Thank you SO MUCH for a new & fresh perspective. It's amazing.

God bless :)

Ryan Rosenbaum said...

Sara- i love the costumes as well. I will do a post- Halloween post with more.

Annelise- Thanks for stopping by and sharing your encouragement.

Aimee @ byAimee.com said...

great post -- we didn't hide. we had our kids dressed up as Tink & Spidey and had community with our neighbors. yes, we saw some not-so-great-oh-my-kids-don't-look costumes BUT, why gives non-Christians 1 more rule to follow in order to "be a better Christian" when really it just causes them to separate us from them while it doesn't have any impact on their relationship with Jesus? // i do respect some Christian opinions on why they don't participate.. but for us, a fun night of giving out candy, using manners, playing dress-up and walking around with flashlights was a perfect night for this full-devoted follower of Christ family!

Ryan Rosenbaum said...

@byAimee I'm glad you had fun. Great point about not giving one more rule to follow to be a Christian.