Why Should Christians Be
HAPPY at Halloween?
Here’s how I answered that question
in a recent letter to men at a maximum security prison.
My wife, Robyne, and I get to spend time with hundreds of men inside one of the most well-known maximum security prisons in America (about 15 miles from our home): East Jersey State Prison. Unfolding inside its walls is a genuine—to the amazement of many!—Spirit-driven Christ Awakening movement that we believe is a visible foretaste of what the Father wants to accomplish now in all of the churches and communities in this land.
Frequently, I write many of the brothers, especially when I can’t be with them. This month I wrote them the unusual letter that makes up this blog post. In it, I ask and answer whether it is proper for Christians even to recognize Halloween, let alone celebrate it—let alone be HAPPY because of it!
I want to share that letter with you right now, just a few days before Halloween 2019.
I hope it gives you a new way to think about this annual, normally ghoulish, national festival.
Also, I hope it will inspire you to pray for the mighty work of God currently transforming EJSP. Pray that it will spill outside the walls, all across our region, in all the ways I write about in this letter—all of it for the glory of Christ.
My dear “band of brothers,”
See the poster picture above? “Band of Brothers” is the name of a fascinating series on TV in 2001 that followed the exploits of an army unit as they fought together from D-Day through the rest of WW II. All true stories!
The show provides a great example of what I think of when I think of you men—and how you are bound together for the glory of Christ in the Kingdom battle that is being waged inside EJSP.
I never cease to be deeply moved every time I’m with you all. Truly, you INSPIRE me in my own battles on the part of the battlefield where the Lord Jesus has called me to serve him.
I’m not sure that I’m spiritually qualified even to suggest that I might be part of the glorious “company” you men have become. But the fact is, I truly “feel” like I’m actually there with you right now and that you are here with me—and that we are in this cosmic struggle for the glory of God TOGETHER!
So Why Am I Sending You This Cute Halloween Card?
You may wonder: Should Christians even acknowledge Halloween at all, let alone celebrate it, let alone speak to each other with the greeting of “HAPPY HALLOWEEN?”
Good questions. Important questions. I have some great answers that will change the whole way you look at Halloween.
First, however, let me be perfectly clear about one thing: Christians have good reasons to remain uneasy about how children frequently celebrate Halloween by dressing up in costumes in which they pretend to be ghosts, goblins, witches, ax murderers, and other representations of evil.
On the contrary, Christians (and our children) are told in Romans 13 to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ and leave no room for the ways of the sinful nature.” That calls for very different costumes!
The REAL reason for Halloween (as I’m about to share with you) would suggest that children who choose to wear costumes at Halloween should dress up in things that represent “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable . . . excellent or praiseworthy” (Philippians 4). Dressing as a prince or princess, policewoman, fireman, nurse or doctor, or as a Bible character—that’s the way to go!
In fact, doing so could become a powerful, contrasting witness for Jesus to those who are, whether unwittingly or deliberately, mimicking the themes of darkness.
That creates the perfect segway into my main message:
As shocking as this may sound, I want to suggest to you that of all the people on planet earth, it is Christians and Christians alone who have any reason—actually, who have the right—to say and mean “HAPPY Halloween!” Why?
Well, to start with, let’s think about the word itself.
“Halloween” comes from an old English phrase, “All Hallows Eve.” “Hallows” was an ancient synonym for “saints” (hallowed ones). In other words, just as we celebrate Christmas Day beginning on “Christmas Eve,” so for centuries, Christians observed November 1 as “All Saints (Hallows) Day” by beginning the liturgical holiday the night before—on its “eve.”
What was “All Saints Day” about? It was a yearly festival that honored the great Christian leaders, thinkers, missionaries, and servants down through the centuries who served Christ so faithfully, even sacrificially.
Therefore, “Halloween” belongs to the Church. It is the beginning of 24 hours for Christians worldwide to focus on what it means for us to follow Jesus with heart and mind and soul and strength—to become “hallowed ones.” Should that not fill us with happiness? How could we feel otherwise?
But there are more reasons why a rush of elation should mark how we look at Halloween.
The fact is that those who know and belong to our Lord Jesus Christ have joined another, everlasting “band” around the Savior of the world as our champion. And he has conquered the three main culprits that make up the traditional themes of modern Halloween: fear, death, and the demonic.
He has not only conquered all three foes in the past but continues to reign over and subdue all of them at this moment.
For us, Halloween is a gloriously HAPPY occasion because it reminds us that now, in Jesus Christ, we have entered into the “victory that overcomes the world” with all of its destructive, malignant forces that are arrayed against us.
First of all, today our Redeemer stands strong and unshakable in his opposition to everything that might strike FEAR into our hearts.
He laid his right hand on me and said, “Don’t be afraid! Though I am the First and Last, the Living One who died, who is now alive forevermore, who has the keys of hell and death—don’t be afraid! (Revelation 1, emphasis added)
Secondly, coming forth from the tomb, he has brought us into the gift of his own eternal life, a life that begins right now—so that DEATH no longer has any threat for us.
“Death is swallowed up in victory.” O death, where then your victory? Where then your sting? For sin—the sting that causes death—will all be gone; and the law, which reveals our sins, will no longer be our judge. How we thank God for all of this! It is he who makes us victorious through Jesus Christ our Lord! So, my dear brothers, since future victory is sure, be strong and steady, always abounding in the Lord’s work . . . (1 Corinthians 15, TLB, emphasis added)
Furthermore, Satan and all the powers of darkness have been stripped, overthrown, corralled, and are continually held back by the Savior in whom we now safely hide and abide.
Christ has utterly wiped out the damning evidence of broken laws and commandments which always hung over our heads and has completely annulled it by nailing it over his own head on the cross. And then having drawn the sting of all the powers ranged against us, he exposed them, shattered, empty and defeated, in his final glorious triumphant act! (Colossians 2, Phillips, emphasis added)
So yes, let me say to you, my brothers,
“BE HAPPY this Halloween!”
Together, let us turn the world’s celebration of all things evil into a day of heavenly rejoicing over how the black hole of this old creation’s all-consuming depravity has been eradicated.
This happened by the holy embodiment of all that is good and righteous through the
INCARNATION of Jesus;
by the sin-washing and guilt-cleansing force of the
CRUCIFIXION of Jesus;
by the moment death itself was swallowed up in the
RESURRECTION of Jesus;
and by how our fallen world has been permanently replaced by the Kingdom that was established and is now advancing into the domain of darkness because of the
ASCENSION of Jesus
to the very Throne of Heaven.
This—Jesus’ four-fold, irreversible revolution—is why we will go on being happy forever, including on Halloween!
It also means, therefore, that on Halloween 2019 you can be HAPPY for another reason: Our living, reigning King Jesus guarantees to all of us the truths of this passage day after day (taken from 2 Corinthians 4 in The Message paraphrase):
You know for yourselves that we’re not much to look at.
We’ve been surrounded and battered by troubles,
but we’re not demoralized;
we’re not sure what to do,
but we know that God knows what to do;
we’ve been spiritually terrorized,
but God hasn’t left our side;
we’ve been thrown down, but we haven’t broken.
What they did to Jesus, they do to us—
trial and torture, mockery and murder;
what Jesus did among them, he does in us—
We believe that the One who raised up the Master Jesus
will just as certainly raise us up with you, alive.
Every detail works to your advantage and to God’s glory:
more and more grace,
more and more people,
more and more praise!
So, we’re not giving up. How could we!
I’ll see you shortly for another time of worship and the study of God’s Word.
Never forget our vision statement for East Jersey State Prison:
We want to see EJSP become
as famous for Christ
as Wall Street is for money,
Pittsburg is for steel, and
McDonald’s is for hamburgers!
HAPPY HALLOWEEN, YOU SAINTS OF HEAVEN!
About the Author
Over the past 40 years, David Bryant has been defined by many as a “messenger of hope” and a “Christ proclaimer” to the Church throughout the world. Formerly a minister-at-large with the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, president of Concerts of Prayer International (COPI), and chairman of America’s National Prayer Committee, David now provides leadership to ChristNow.com and Proclaim Hope!, whose mission is to foster and serve Christ-awakening movements. Order his widely read books at DavidBryantBooks.com.
If you enjoyed this blog post, forward it to friends!
|Invite them to sign up for future blog posts here. It’s free!|