I live less than two miles from “Halloween Street.” Named the 9th Halloween neighborhood display in the country. Number one in my city. Almost every yard is loaded with an elaborate, overly gruesome display. For a good six weeks or so, I drive past guillotines, zombies, and hanging bodies, and find myself to be quite distracted.
Not by the sickening images no one should want to see. Nor by the thought of the hundreds of thousands of dollars poured into the gory event each year. But by the number of young families with young children who walk up and down the street and enjoy the celebration.
And I wonder if our world has become what it is today because of Halloween.
Allow me to introduce you to the second most powerful being in the world. He manages to pull off an attractive and harmless appearance. And that’s exactly what he wants you to think as you admire the goulish décor – that all of this death and darkness is no big deal. I dare say, this devil’s main objective on Halloween night is to give the whole world the impression that he’s not actually real.
And he’s succeeding.
Little eyes behold his cute, playful nature. After all, it’s nothing but plastic, cloth, and makeup. Take a selfie. Fill your bag with candy. Enjoy a night of spooky make-believe.
The child in the stroller knows no difference. But that devil does. Is it possible that the harmlessness and familiarity of all things death and dying may very well take its toll on that little pumpkin you’re strolling down the sidewalk? Is it possible that what his little eyes see shapes who he becomes, how he thinks, what he does, and what power he chooses to control his life?
You tell me an annual death-celebration makes no difference. How do you think a person ends up looking at the bloody murder of an unborn child and saying, “No big deal”? How could someone gun down multiple bystanders and think nothing of it? How can a brilliant college student look at life and say, “We’re nothing but energy – when we die, we just dissolve into nothing”? Death is no longer death. It has become clean, cute, and unrealistic. Like those skeletons, ghosts, and gravestones in your front yard.
Darkness comes in many forms. But on the brightest of days, Halloween Street is powerfully dark. And it’s capturing little minds by the dozens, thanks to the crafty, serpent-like creature hiding behind it all.
And so you choose the “redeem” method. Be safe, dress up as Bible characters, and stay away from gruesome neighborhood displays. And maybe my words are, to you, just another extreme, anti-Halloween post to ignore like all the rest.
I leave it to you with one challenge. Look up three words: devil, death, and darkness. Not in your dictionary, as I imagine you know what they mean.
Look them up in the Bible. Because every time I see those words, I don’t pull out my selfie-stick. I tremble. I cringe. I run.
For death, for this resurrected saint, is a very strange thing. A thing of the past and a defeated thing. Since when do we celebrate the thing that is defeated? And so, when I see those words, I run to Light and Life. I look to the cross with eyes of gratefulness. And by the grace of that man who casts out demons and raises dead people, I plead for the power to turn my eyes from evil things.
I want death, and devils, and darkness to forever be strange to me. I live my days fighting for it. It’s called “resisting.”
And that’s why, for me, October 31 is just like any other day. Because if he invited me to his party, I wouldn’t come dressed in the godliest of costumes with a bodyguard at my heels. I’d stay home.
Be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him.
1 Pet 5:8-9
[image credit: flickr.com, journeyoftheword.com]