One of our Church family’s biggest events happens tonight…TRUNK OR TREAT! Out of all of the annual events we do, Trunk or Treat is my favorite. In my four short years here at The River Church, I have been asked these questions multiple times when October hits, “Why does the River Church celebrate Halloween? Don’t you know that holiday is for the devil? Can’t you have a Harvest party instead of a Halloween party?” Well, after four years, I think I have an answer; the River Church does not celebrate Halloween. Now some of you might be confused by that answer, so let me explain.
First, let’s look at the history of the holiday we call Halloween. It originated because the ancient Celts celebrated their new year on November 1. So naturally, they believed the ghosts of the dead returned to earth the night before, October 31. After that, the Romans, who conquered the Celts, adapted it as a day to commemorate the passing of their dead and to celebrate their goddess Pomona. (Fun fact: Pomona was the Roman goddess of fruit and trees often symbolized by an apple. This is where bobbing for apples during the Fall originated.) From there, Catholicism morphed this holiday into a day that celebrated the passing of saints and martyrs called ‘All Saints Day.’ Finally, Halloween moves to America as a day to celebrate the harvest, tell ghost stories, brag about each other’s fortunes, dance, and sing. (history.com/topics/halloween/history-of-halloween)
Halloween has now become a day for people to dress up in costumes, have parties with friends, pass out candy, and simply have fun. Like the Apostle Paul, the River Church has decided to “become all things to all people, that by all means we might save some.” (1 Corinthians 9:22) The River Church does not celebrate Halloween. We use the cultural norm of Halloween to get as many people the Gospel as we can. We participate in decorating a trunk, passing out candy, and having a big event that is a lot of fun to get people into the kingdom of God. We forget about our personal preferences and inconvenience ourselves to show the LOVE of Jesus to those who do not know about it. And we “do it all for the sake of the Gospel, that we may share with them in its blessings.” (1 Corinthians 9:23)
Please understand my heart; I am not condemning those who choose not to participate in Halloween at all. Who am I to determine what the Spirit has convicted your heart to do? I am simply conveying my convictions.
I grew up in a world that “didn’t do the Halloween thing” because of the demonic connotations that surround the history of the holiday. However, the history of it is not the way it is now. Halloween is an incredible opportunity for you to share the story of Jesus with someone you just cannot seem to get to go to church with you. Maybe they will bring their kids to get candy at Trunk or Treat. Guess what, if they bring their kids to Trunk or Treat to get candy, they are going to hear the Gospel. I guarantee you! Remember this, River family, what man means for evil, God means for good (Genesis 50:20). Often, it is not what we do, but why we do what we do. What are your motives behind participating, or not participating in the holiday known as Halloween? Is your mentality Biblical? Is it driven by a preconceived notion based on how you were raised or what someone told you? I want to challenge you today to go to Scripture to formulate your opinions about EVERYTHING. Make the cause of Christ the center of all of your motives! Make JESUS the reason behind why you do what you do.