If you could design a celebration that focuses on the exact opposite of the Christian faith, what would that look like? Well, as “the light of the world”, our faith focuses on both light as revealing and light as comforting, so this celebration would have to focus on darkness, secrecy and fear. As the “giver of abundant life”, we focus on fullness, health, and life, so it would have to celebrate emptiness, unhealth, and death.
So, darkness, secrecy, fear, emptiness, unhealth, death… does this sound like any celebrations in our culture today? Of course, I’m talking about Halloween, celebrated last night around the country. What movies are part of Halloween? Not uplifting, feel-good ones. What happens at every theme park, TV show, and party that night? Not brightness or happiness.
Totally apart from the fundamentalist denial of Halloween, the theological reality is that it celebrates everything that goes in the exact opposite direction from who we are as a people of faith. It’s not just that God said not to celebrate as the world does, it’s that we should have no interest in celebrating it in the first place. Rather than seeing rules and another “Thou shalt not…”, we should instead consider whether these are things we want to celebrate in the first place.
Wouldn’t we rather celebrate the great Christians of the past? Wouldn’t we rather celebrate our holy loved ones who have passed on and become part of our “cloud of witnesses”? Knowing we are not alone, that we have models and hope, and that someday people will remember and celebrate us as those who have joined that wondrous cloud… these are things to celebrate. Let’s let the church stand up and stand out from the rest of this society, which is the definition of the word, “Holy”. Let’s celebrate All Saint’s Day instead of Halloween, and at home instead of just at church.