What Haunts Me this Halloween
Jim DalyJim Daly is president and chief executive officer of Focus on the Family, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping families thrive.
- 2013 Oct 31
Halloween is a volatile topic with many Christians, and for good reason. Its origins are pagan and disturbing. And yet, it seems to be growing in popularity on all fronts. From plastic front-lawn tombstones to inflatable monsters (and all the candy), Americans are expected to spend nearly $7 billion this year on the holiday.
Nevertheless, when it comes to Oct. 31, as a Christian, you probably fall into one of three camps.
1. Enjoy It: You grew up trick-or-treating and wearing the Superman costume. To you, it’s all about the fun and the candy, not the ghoulish or macabre.
2. Amend It: You’re cautious and don’t want to condone or celebrate something with pagan roots. But you want your children to enjoy elements of it. A “harvest festival” or “trunk or treating” at the church is your speed.
3. Ignore It: You have strong convictions and just don’t want to acknowledge the day. So, you turn the lights out on the front porch and choose not to participate in any of the traditions.
Jean and I fall somewhere between one and two. The boys have enjoyed dressing up and going trick-or-treating over the years. And I have to admit, the sweet smell of a plastic bucket full of candy really brings me back.
But let me just say this: I strongly respect those who approach the day differently than we do. The person with noble convictions is an inspiring sight.
Yet all this focus on the sinister side of the day, on the ghosts and the goblins, and the ghoulish and garish, got me thinking.
What is it that haunts me this Halloween?
Do I worry about my past, my life prior to knowing and loving my Lord? What about those youthful indiscretions? My thought life as a teenager?
Fast forward to present day.
Am I a good enough husband and father? Do I always say the right word at the right time? What about my responsibilities as president of this ministry and host of our radio show? Are my actions honoring to God and advancing the Kingdom?
Am I measuring up?
What about all the dangers lurking in this fallen world? Do they haunt me? I think about my family’s safety and security – be it physical, emotional, mental or financial.
Were there ever any guarantees?
And what of the future? Am I haunted by the trajectory of a government that seems more interested in, to quote my friend and former Focus board member, Dr. Al Mohler, erotic liberties rather than traditional religious liberties?
Any thinking or sane person would have to acknowledge there’s a lot on the landscape to potentially haunt us this Halloween. As that off-beat comedy of many years ago opined, “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.”
And, indeed it is. But here is where I stand, and where I suspect you find ultimate comfort, too:
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand (Isaiah 41:10).
And so getting back to my initial question, what haunts me this Halloween?
Absolutely nothing, but only because I know the Lord and “the Lord’s sovereignty rules over all” (Psalm 103:19).