Summary: Halloween has been a popular event in America. It is a time that many see as just a fun time to dress up, get candy and see people. Historically, Halloween has not always been so innocent and some of the practices have been derived from pagan worship.
Trick or Treat
Well, we know that Fall has arrived as the days continue to get shorter and as the leaves fall from the trees and as the weather continues to change. Next week, we will have another indication of fall being here as the streets will be filled with kids dressed as their favorite characters in search of the house that is giving away the best candy. For many of the parents out there, it may bring back all kinds of warm and fuzzy memories of your own childhood out trick or treating.
Now to some in America, or at least in this Suburban Chicago area, Halloween is a time to just dress up, gather with friends at parties, drink apple cider and hot chocolate and enjoy getting and eating candy.
However, historically, Halloween has not always been so innocent but has also been a time that is associated with evil.
Origins of Halloween
Its origins come from the Celtic people from before the time of Christ. The Celts were a pagan people who believed that their sun god grew weaker as winter approached and the days got shorter, and that the “lord of death” grew stronger during that time. There New Year began on November 1st and it was believed that on October 31st, New Year’s Eve for them, that the barriers between the world of the dead and the world of the living was the most permeable because that is when the “lord of death,” the “grim reaper” would come for the souls of those who died during that year.
Chris Tiller – Reflections on Halloween, Accessed 10/20/2010 at http://www.sermoncentral.com/sermons/reflections-on-halloween-chris-tiller-sermon-on-christian-values-84514.asp
It is from these origins that we get Halloween being associated with witches and ghosts and the dead and to be sure, there are still those today who will lean toward the evil aspects of Halloween and even have séances or go to psychics or fortune tellers to check their crystal ball or put their trust and hope in what their horoscope says or what a Ouija board will tell them.
Now to some, these may seem like harmless fun, while others believe that just as it is possible to entertain angels through our hospitality without even knowing it (Hebrews 13:2), it is possible to entertain fallen angels (demons) perhaps without even knowing it.
This is why some followers of Christ have chosen to completely disassociate with anything to do with Halloween from trick or treating to handing out candy. They will close the house, turn off the lights and go out for the night so they don’t have any appearance of associating with evil.
Other followers of Christ view the whole thing as no longer having the pagan influence that it used to have so they feel free to engage in any aspect of Halloween without any problem.
And while we find nothing specifically related to Halloween in the Bible, we want to ask today if there is teaching that can give us guidance for how we can decide what is best for us and most honoring to Christ in our conduct?
I believe there are and we are going to look at a passage today that I believe will help give wisdom and guidance as we seek to live our lives to the glory of God.
Turn with me to
As you turn there, I want to give you some background.
Paul is writing to the Corinthian church. Many of the people had come out of a pagan religious background and were continuing to participate in some pagan worship rituals and worshiping false gods. Paul writes to them to give them some guidance on how they can live in their society in relationship with other people (even non-Christians) in a way that will be true to the Lord.
Now this passage doesn’t deal specifically with Halloween, but it does deal with some pagan influences in their society that I believe if we distill the principles inherent in this teaching, we can apply the principles to how we should deal with Halloween.
So let’s begin and read along as we hear what Paul says.
14 Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry. 15 I speak to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say. 16 Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? 17 Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf.
He is saying here that for Christians, when we partake of the Lord’s supper, the cup and the bread, we who are Christians are united together in unity as one body because we are participating in this sacred time together. It is being the body of Christ together with one another. Since we are uniting with Christ we should not be uniting with any idols or false gods. That is not how we are to act as followers of Christ.