I am writing this blog post from the mountains of Missouri. The fall colors are glorious and the air is crisp but not cold. Life moves at a slower pace here than in my hometown and I have loved the chance to enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells of the season.
Of course, the Christmas decorations are already out as well—but I’m kind of pretending not to see those for a while longer. I still have to pass out candy to the cute kids at the door this weekend! I usually celebrate the fall, but Halloween isn’t high on my list of holidays. I guess because I’ve never really known what I should do about the celebration.
Our nation spends billions of dollars—literally, billions—on Halloween decorations, candy, and costumes. Pet owners spend millions of dollars putting costumes on their dogs. (I have to admit the hot dog bun costume for the dachshunds is pretty cute.) When I was young we had people in our church who were convinced Halloween was Satanic, while others were equally convinced it was just fine to celebrate as long as we didn’t dress like witches or other evil things. Moms would occasionally ask me, their preacher’s wife, what I thought. Truthfully, I had no idea what to say then or now.
I had a great time taking my boys around the neighborhood to trick or treat. We enjoyed creating costumes and seeing the costumes everyone else made. The boys feasted on the candy in the days that followed and I looked forward to Thanksgiving and Christmas.
It does seem strange that the holidays are running together these days. Today I went from Halloween decorations, sitting next to fall leaves, pumpkins, and Thanksgiving turkeys—which were already marked down for quick sale—to the other side of the store awash in red, green, and twinkling Christmas lights. Did I miss Halloween when I left town? Is Thanksgiving still going to happen?
I heard on the news last night that REI Sports has issued a revolutionary statement for the retail industry. USA Today reported “The outdoor gear and sporting goods retailer REI is canceling Black Friday this year. No promotions, no hourly sales, no doorbusters, no waiting in line. In an unprecedented move for the modern-day holiday shopping season, REI’s 143 stores will be closed the day after Thanksgiving.” The company has suggested that everyone get outside, do something as a family, exercise, and then tweet messages about what they did the day after Thanksgiving instead of shopping. I loved that idea!
I don’t know if Christians should celebrate Halloween but I definitely don’t think we should spend billions of dollars on the holiday. I know we should celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas—but I don’t think we should spend billions of dollars on those holidays either. Maybe we should all take a deep breath, slow down, and simplify. Let’s enjoy this life that God gave us and save our money for things that matter more than gigantic, inflatable spiders, turkeys, and snowmen. Maybe the $12 ornaments that emit electronic versions of “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” are really just too expensive—in addition to being kind of annoying. Maybe last year’s stuff is still pretty good for this year as well.
The retail giants are already decorated and doing their best to lure the early shoppers. What if we all stay home for a while and save our money? Enjoy the cute children who say “Trick or treat” this weekend. Look forward to Thanksgiving and the chance to be with family, friends, football, and pumpkin pie. Then make Christmas about Jesus instead of all things retail. I’m willing to play a trick on Macy’s and receive a treat from God.
Let’s have a Philippians 4:6-7 kind of holiday season beginning with Halloween, this weekend. Paul wrote, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
The holiday season is upon us…this coming January will we say it was a trick—or a treat? I’m aiming for the latter!