20141019_123545_2hal·low. ˈhalō/ verb: honor as holy

As a child, Halloween was a holiday I loved to celebrate. I got to carve pumpkins, hang fake spiders and cob webs from our front door, dress up, go trick or treating, and pig out on candy. But then, at the age of 25, I became and Christian and all that came to screeching halt. My past immersement in the occult as a teen/early young adult had soured me. You see, during that dark time I literally met demons, and discovered way too much about Satan and his power of darkness to want to reintroduce evil into my life. So I shut out all references of Halloween from my life.

As time went on I had children. Four, to be exact, and I wasn’t about to allow them any part of the darkness I had grown to fear, so I hid Halloween behind the cloak of fall festivals at church.  But that didn’t stop their questions. As my children grew, each eventually asked why they couldn’t celebrate Halloween in the traditional way. I told them it was a holiday that belonged to Satan with witches and pagans and sometimes sacrifices, on All Hallow’s Eve. It was also the only holiday that did not include Christ.

My husband wasn’t a Christian at the time so I was pushing back against what he wanted to do as well. He thought my reasoning silly and superstitious and a bit on the extreme religious side. But I held firm from 1981 when my first was born until 2011 when my youngest turned 18. Not saying my adult children viewed Halloween the same as I. They didn’t—mainly because they had grown up in a Christian home, protected as much as possible from the darkness I had allowed to envelop me as an older teen and young adult.

Then, a few years ago at a family Christmas celebration, with my adult children and their children sitting around a beautifully set Christmas dinner table overflowing with yummy food, my son, out of the blue, started talking about how I ruined Halloween for them. I was shocked! Not only was I shocked that he felt that way, but hurt that he didn’t understand why I felt Halloween was off limits—especially after explaining it to him so well. The evening turned into a disaster as, one by one, by other children joined ranks with their brother and before I knew it, accusations of my over-zealous religious believes in regard to Halloween and Christmas (namely, Santa), were thrown back in my face. Before long I couldn’t take it anymore and I lost it. I stood up, slammed my chair against the wall, screamed at my kids, then ran upstairs in tears. I flung myself on my bed and started asking God if I had made a mistake, then quickly decided it wasn’t me who was wrong, it was the kids.

After a short amount of time my children came up to my bedroom and apologized. Apparently much of what my son said had been bottled up inside them for quite some time. My son and his one sister said that the anger only mounted after they had kids of their own and realized what they missed out on. I tried to explain they still got to dress up and get candy, just not in a traditional Halloween manner; but that’s not how they remember it. Their memory is that of being left out of the fun.

Still standing by my decision to keep Halloween out of my family, I accepted their apology; however, still wouldn’t budge on how I felt about the holiday so we’d just have to agree to disagree on this. They nodded, we hugged, and all was well.

Sort of.

After that night the Holy Spirit started nudging me in regard to Halloween. At first I was resistant. I didn’t want to hear anything about being “in the world but not of it.” I had spent my whole Christian life being “in, but not of.” Then the LORD challenged me with something interesting. He asked who made the day and night. I replied He did. He asked what days the world and enemy had tried to rob from him. I answered all of them. Even Christmas and Easter? He asked. Yes, I said, even those two. Then, He continued, why single out Halloween? Why give the enemy his due desire to rule a day? Why not learn how to celebrate the hallowed day (and night) that the LORD had made, which Satan tried to take from Him?

Honestly, I was stumped. I had never thought of it that way before—mainly because I was so wrapped up in my own past pain, hurt, and fears that I couldn’t break free long enough to see beyond the fact that, “This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24 TLB)

Jesus said, “The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows].” (John 10:10 AMP) Running from Halloween just because the enemy “decided” to claim it for himself does not lend to an abundant, enjoyable, overflowing life. It lends to fear, and fear is NOT a product of God: “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” (2 Timothy 1:7 ESV).

Accepting Christ makes you a new creation; you are no longer of this world, but you are sent into it. “Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4 ESV) Running from those things that threaten or frighten us only gives the enemy more power. We’re not the ones who are supposed to flee, he is. (“Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7b ESV) Instead, we are to put on the armor of God and stand (Ephesians 6:10-18). We are to fight the good fight of faith (1 Timothy 6:12).

Is giving in to Halloween the same as giving in to temptation? Not if you declare that day to belong to the LORD. For when you do you are able to experience the complete freedom Jesus planned for you to experience, even if you dress up in costume and go trick or treating with your grandchildren.

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Dear LORD, I declare every day to be holy—an honor, homage, to You and Your great glory. Help me to never run from my fears again. Teach me how to face them, knowing you have my front and my back at all times, and that You prevail over all things. Teach me how (in the words of Captain James T. Kirk) to “…to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before,” even when those strange, new places cause me discomfort. Help me run the race in the complete freedom you desire for me. In Jesus’ holy name I pray. Amen.