Making the most of Halloween
I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life (John 8:12).
We know that these words are true and cling to them at times when darkness hits. We celebrate Jesus being a light to the nations at Christmas and we seek opportunities to invite friends to find out more. Yet, just a few months earlier, there is another opportunity to speak of Jesus that most of us completely ignore. Halloween is the one time of the year that people come knocking on our door wanting something from us and yet we turn off the lights, close the curtains and pretend we’re not at home. These words in John chapter 8 are achingly relevant, yet rarely shared at Halloween. Will you join me and offer the light of life this year?
Light of the world
Fundamentally, a Christian is to take seriously the call to trust in Jesus as the light of the world, but we also need to accept his call in Matthew 5:14-16 and join him in chasing away the darkness. As Halloween approaches there are three things from this passage that I’d love to highlight.
We’re called to be the light of the world
In verse 14, Jesus is speaking to ordinary people, just like you and me. He says, ‘You are the light of the world’ for this is how he intends to get his work done today, through us. We are to be his ambassadors and speak the truth about him, holding out hope and joy.
We’re to shine as a community
Jesus isn’t calling us to be a light on our own, rather a city for ‘a city on a hill cannot be hidden’ (Matt. 5:14). We’re to be a community of light that can be seen for miles. When Christians work together it points to the gospel itself, a gospel of healing and reconciliation between God and people. We are to shine our light together; we are to speak of Jesus as the light, not as individuals but as a community, for it is as a community that we are actually the light of the world.
Our lamps are not for hiding
If we’re honest many of us prefer to hide our light. This is where working together as a community rather than individuals helps those who would rather hide. We assume our friends won’t be interested, we’re afraid and we’re not sure if we will know the answers to their questions. Yet, verse 15 says that lamps are not for hiding but for shining: ‘neither do people light a lamp and put it under a basket.’ Jesus wants us to do the ‘good deeds’ of verse 16, not deeds of niceness but deeds of self-sacrifice, deeds of justice and mercy, deeds of generosity and kindness. As we shine like this, others will see our good deeds and glorify God.
Becoming a house of light
It was September 2020, we had been enduring the impact of Covid for six months and the prospect of being locked indoors was depressing. I prayed, ‘God, you want us to be salt and light to our friends but we can’t even leave the house.’ I felt him say to me, ‘Nay, where do you think you shouldn’t be?’ I knew the answer was Halloween. It was the next event in the calendar, yet as a Christian, I had never taken part in Halloween. This wasn’t something that Christians did and surely I should keep as far away as possible. My kids were six and four and the thought of having trick-or-treaters frightened the life out of them.
I invited some friends round and suggested that we do something for our community at Halloween. We came up with the idea of a trail map of houses that we knew were safe and friendly for the kids to visit. I hoped my friends would organise this, but instead they nominated me. I went home feeling anxious but we chatted together as a family and decided that we would be a ‘House of Light’ on the Halloween trail.
Fast forward a few months and we were ready. We had put up beautiful lights across our driveway and decorated pumpkins to make people laugh. We wanted to be generous and give away not only sweets but short stories. The story we chose was about a little boy that was afraid of the dark. It is a story that gently points to Jesus and leaves you wanting to know more. We made up hundreds of small gift bags to give away. On the night itself we had 40 families that took part with a map to find each home. We spent the entire evening chatting with friends and neighbours and we gave away 600 gift bags. Our house lit up the street and we trust that it brought light into others’ lives.
Will you join me this year in welcoming and inviting others to knock on your door? Will you choose to open your curtains and switch the lights on?
Here are some simple things you can do.
Find other Christians in your neighbourhood and join together as a community reaching out to your community.
Organize a light party at your church.
Put up outdoor lights around your house, driveway or church.
Make gift bags to give away with evangelistic tracts or stories and sweets.
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