God is not “Fun Size”

candy cornLast Saturday night I sat on my front-porch but didn’t meet any trick-or-treaters (they don’t do Halloween in St. Vincent) instead about an hour was spent reading articles that discussed how the holiday could be used for God’s Glory.

Like most of you I don’t agree at all with the original meaning of Halloween as a pagan holiday, however a day of the year when strangers come knocking on your door in America (a place where sadly we use our homes as impenetrable fortresses) can’t be passed up.

One of the more interesting ideas was that  Christians can use this as an opportunity to illustrate the generosity of God and the Gospel instead of fear as described by David Mathis in his article “Take Halloween Captive

Because of the authority of Jesus, and his power within us — and remembering that Satan is our enemy, not our neighbors — we lean into Halloween, not away. We turn the porch lights on to chase away the darkness. We have the best candy on the street and give with generosity, not the cheapest fair with a miser’s hand.

We open the door wide and linger in conversation. We plan ahead about how to make the most of this unique opportunity, when a society of people who increasingly keep to themselves in the neighborhood turn on lights and knock on doors.

This idea of generosity is illustrated by Jimmy and Kelly Needham who both wrote articles about their outreach of generosity on Halloween night.

Jimmy Needham explains why they choose this day of the year for generosity in his article “God Frankensteins and More: The opportunity for generosity on Halloween

Halloween is one opportunity (among many) to surprise our neighbors with the generosity of God.

I say generosity “of God” because our giving functions as a parable. In handing out the best candy or the most candy, in creating a welcoming home for trick-or-treaters, in surprising our neighbors with kindness, we are telling them about the character of God. He too is generous. He too is welcoming. He too is kind. Our simple, generous acts of love are yard signs pointing to our God.

His wife Kelly explains how they show generosity in her article “Redeeming Halloween

You can even participate in Halloween without actually celebrating the day itself. We are careful to not have any traditional Halloween decorations like ghosts, spiderwebs, monsters, etc. Instead, we try to brand ourselves as the “crazy-generous” house on our street, making a statement about the gracious nature of our God through sending his Son.

How are we doing that? We give out the good candy—king-sized candy bars! And when you’re giving out over 800 of those candy bars, people start asking, “Why?”—which leads to an open door for the gospel. “Because we serve a generous God who gave his Son to pay the penalty of our sin and give us new life. We didn’t deserve it, and we long to be a small expression of his generosity toward us.” I’ve already been able to share my testimony and the good news of Jesus several times just by buying the candy.

This theme of generosity linked to God is even seen in the sign in front of their house of Halloween night

Back at our house, as trick-or-treaters arrive at our front steps (we live on a hill top), they are met with a sign: “If you make the climb, there’s king-sized candy bars, cause there’s not a King as generous as ours.” The college students from our church greet people down front, getting prayer requests and texting them up to people inside who lead our prayer room. On the way back down, gigantic Snickers bars in hand, visitors see another sign in the yard: “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23)

While it’s obviously not possible for all of us to go out and buy 800 king-size candy bars, the idea of God’s generosity is still something that must be displayed. Through these and other articles we are reminded that God gives to us sacrificially through the death and resurrection of Christ.

Whether or not a person celebrates Halloween we can all agree that we don’t serve a “fun size God” and therefore we must not allow ourselves to be known as “fun size Christians”

Articles Cited:

  1. http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/take-halloween-captive
  2. http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/god-frankensteins-and-more
  3. http://erlc.com/article/redeeming-halloween-being-missional-in-the-midst-of-darkness

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