For most folks, it is the season to celebrate Hallowe’en. The stores have been selling Hallowe’en merchandise ever since Thanksgiving Day. Neighbourhoods are changing. Each weekend, more morbid lawnscapes are being erected. Carved pumpkins decorate front porches. Skeletons protrude out of the ground. RIP gravestones tilt toward pedestrians. Down-right scary images can be seen everywhere.
Is Hallowe’en harmless? Admittedly some Hallowe’en practices are fun. Dressing up as story book characters or creatures is fun anytime the kids decide to do this! Each year, my wife and I see delightful children in the cutest of costumes begging for our candy: two-year olds as lions; five-year-olds as Star Wars storm troopers; ten-year-olds as Snow White or medieval knights.
Some come as zombies.
What continues to disturb me more about Hallowe’en each year is a growing fascination with death and morbidity. The walking dead. The threats to harm. The frightening scenes covered with blood. Who enjoys this? What mind wants to dwell here? What are we telling the children?
I have slowly resigned myself to the fact that I cannot change the culture in my neighbourhood. I may want to celebrate something else on October 31, but the public culture dominates what my neighbors will do with that date. I may want to reflect on the Reformation Act of Martin Luther back in 1517, but who shares this conviction down my street? Many Christian friends do not want to focus back 500 years anymore.
So I will have the bowl of candies by the door in a few days. My wife and I will gush over the cute little ones at our door. We will greet the neighbors and wish them a great evening. We will be neighbourly.
But…I do wish it were different. Death and dying to me is the Evil One’s last attempt to dissuade us from the Grace of God. My experiences with death involve tears, sadness and a broken heart for loved ones lost. The older I get the more I experience this. Jack-o-lanterns do not help. Watching my young grandchildren react with fear and nightmares after a walk around the block angers me. Seeing the usual crop of horror movie ads get progressively dark makes me wonder if we now live in a pagan culture.
Maranatha, Lord Jesus!