Its fall. And Halloween is right around the corner.
Love it or hate it, you won't be able to ignore Halloween this year. It's everywhere.
It's waiting for you at the grocery store. It's evident on billboards. And, it might even be found in the decorations in your neighbor's yard.
How should Christians respond to Halloween? What should Christians do with a holiday that celebrates death, evil and darkness?
There seem to be two views on this:
We can either say that it is all in fun, it's not a big deal, and celebrate like our unsaved neighbors do.
Or, we can send out scathing Facebook posts attempting to raise "awareness" and "conviction" in our friends' hearts about the evils of Halloween, then sit in our basements with the lights off on October 31st, hoping no one will dare to ring our doorbells.
But, what does the Bible tell us about Halloween?
When the Bible was written, "Halloween" as we know it today was not celebrated. However, cultures in the Bible still worshiped evil things and celebrated darkness. How did Christians handle it back then?
A beautiful opportunity
I believe that the Apostle Paul offers us a beautiful example of a way that we can respond to Halloween and glorify God on a "pagan" holiday.
In Acts chapter 17, we read about the Apostle Paul waiting for Silas and Timothy in the city of Athens - a city full of idols and idol worshipers. As he walked around Athens, Paul's spirit was "provoked" by the spiritual darkness and the worship of evil that surrounded him.
What did Paul do about this? Well, he didn't immediately start condemning the "evil idol worshipers" and trying to show them the absolute wickedness of their actions.
He didn't flee back to his "hotel room" and slam the door to keep the evil out.
But, he didn't join in their worship either.
Instead, Paul looked around and saw souls that were lost, confused and in desperate need of the truth. Paul knew that these were people whom God loved so much that He sent His Son to die for them. And, without the knowledge of God's plan of salvation, these people had no hope of forgiveness of their sins and eternal life.
So, Paul mingled with these people. He spoke with them and compassionately shared the Gospel with them.
But, do you know what is most SHOCKING in this passage? Paul graciously used a pagan altar (gasp!) as an object lesson to point people to Christ.
Which makes me wonder...
Can we, as Christians, use Halloween (a "wicked" and "pagan" holiday) to compassionately and graciously mingle with our neighbors and even share truths from God's Word with them?
Using a pagan holiday
Here's the truth: Many of us struggle to get to know our neighbors. We live in a culture where people prefer to drive into their garages, close the garage door, and engage in virtual relationships and entertainment rather than real, face-to-face relationships. We are all so "busy" that we feel we have no time to develop relationships with the people around us.
My neighbors almost never knock on my door. In fact, there is only one night out of the whole year when many of my neighbors consistently come and knock on my front door. And, that night just happens to be October 31.
What if we saw Halloween as an amazing opportunity to share God's love with our neighbors?
Practical ways to share the gospel on Halloween
How can we share the good news of salvation on Halloween? Here are some ideas:
1. Intentionally pray
Set aside some time during the month of October to pray for the salvation of your neighbors. Maybe you could even make a habit of praying a quick prayer for the salvation of your neighbors and acquaintances each time you see a Halloween decoration.
2. Be welcoming
Let your light shine on Halloween night - literally! If you live in a town or city, chances are good that many people are walking past your door Trick-or-Treating on Halloween. Make your front door and porch a place of light and warmth, an inviting place for people to stop.
Put up strings of lights and fun fall decor and reflect a little of God's light and grace on a dark and scary night.
3. Be bold
Pray and think about some ways that you can step out in faith and boldness.
I am not saying that you should preach to every Trick-or-Treater who comes by. We need to be wise and gentle about sharing our faith and that does not include ramming our faith down people's throats. Instead, look for a quiet and gracious way to let people know that you are a Christian.
This can be as simple as including a small tract or Bible verse with each treat that you hand out. You might also consider purchasing bookmarks or pencils with Bible verses printed on them. Maybe you could hand out tracts from your church with the church address stamped on them. God can use even these humble means as the first step in bringing people to Himself.
And, who knows? Perhaps, when your neighbor has a question about spiritual things, she will remember that verse you handed her one Halloween night ... and come knocking on your door again.
4. Be generous
If you are going to be bold and use Halloween as an opportunity to share God's goodness, please, please, please, do not hand out a tract with one vanilla-flavored Tootsie Roll.
Instead, offer the best treats on the block, treats that are reflective of God's generosity and grace. Go above and beyond, looking for creative ways to be generous to your neighbors.
Consider setting up a hot chocolate and coffee station. What about offering a basket of hand warmers to keep those little hands toasty in their pockets? Maybe you could hand out glow sticks to light up your visitors' dark walks.
Look for ways to be unexpectedly generous.
Giving Satan a scare ...
What if we saw Halloween as an opportunity to share God's goodness with our neighbors? What if we used it as a time to pray for our neighbors? What if we stepped out boldly and shared our faith with our neighbors? What if we were welcoming, approachable and unexpectedly generous for the sake of our God and His testimony?
Maybe, by God's grace, we could give Satan a bit of a scare on Halloween night ....
Now that would be a change!
Editor's note: This article was originally published on Path Through the Narrow Gate. It has been republished here with permission.