Many Christians I know, wonder how they can reach those around them. The old model of opening the church doors only to have people fill it are long gone. Just because we build it doesn’t mean they will come. We wind up trying to figure out ways to reach out to our neighbors, friends, co-workers, and others. Unfortunately, many are caught up in and distracted by politics, division, and culture wars. Instead of providing the way to hope and healing, sojourners are pointed to the same divisiveness and anger our culture promotes. All the while, the church loses people and credibility. When the Church loses sight of its sacred role, we become nothing more than another group, club, or gathering that looks like every other one.
To that end, I offer the hope of Halloween.
I’m not talking about All Hallows Eve. I am talking about Halloween- October 31st-the day the demons are supposed to flourish on the earth- the day kids dress up and go door-to-door for candy-the day linked to pagan festivals and worship of various, sundry sorts. Halloween, the day Christians worry about our culture plummeting into the depths of depravity. Halloween, the day which many believe is Satan’s day. I think this day offers some of the most hope Christians in North America can have. How can that be?
Here is how.
The people are coming to us.
It is that simple. The people, who we say we want to reach, who we complain no longer come to worship, or only come once a month, are coming not to our worship centers, but our homes. People are coming to our homes with their children. They trust that when we open our doors, they will find smiling faces, encouraging their kids, telling them how cute they are.
Kids, who may never get ONE OUNCE of encouragement, are coming to our doors. Their lives may be full of rejection and pain, but on this night, they can receive a simple kindness from us, a smile, a gift, and an encouraging word.
Our neighbors, who we may never choose to get to know, are coming to our homes. Typically, they shut their garage door, and we don’t see them, but on this night, they are coming to our doors. They have worries, concerns, and may be suffering. What will they find when they walk up our walk? A shuttered house, the proverbial “NOT WELCOME” sign? Will they find an angry Christian railing against our culture? Will they find you handing out the worst candy (or heaven forbid, fruit! Who does that!?), or Chick tracts while pointing to the cross carved into the pumpkin?
We have a unique opportunity on Halloween. The world is coming to us. Revealing who Christ is in these moments, no matter how small or quick, is an essential part of showing our friends, neighbors, and dare I say, enemies, the hope of Christ.
Your home has the chance to be known as the nice house. You can be the encouraging people, the lovely people. You can be the ones who offered hot chocolate to the cold kids or gave out the best candy. We can quietly become a place of refuge for our neighborhood, the house that people remember for how awesome they are.
Halloween provides a unique opportunity to love and serve those who may never come to worship, but they are coming to you! What will they find? I hope that you light up your house, smile, share and encourage, love, and bless as you are able. By doing so, we don’t participate in evil deeds but shine the light of Christ brightest and best, as it is supposed to be, in the darkness.