I’m just going to come right out with this – I do not like Halloween. Don’t get me wrong, if you have your kids out there dressed up as little Jedis and Harry Potters visiting your neighbors and enjoying some extra treats, there’s not anything wrong with that. The fact that Halloween has become the holiday second only to Christmas in spending in the United States is a little disconcerting though. I do generally take my kids trick or treating at an event before Halloween, or as I prefer to call it Reformation Day. We usually participate in a campground “Harvest Weekend” and trick or treat at the campground on a weekend in early October. A few times they have talked me into Halloween trick or treating, but generally we come up with another activity, and they have never felt cheated.
Feel free to judge me on this, but I feel Halloween has become a ridiculously popular holiday based largely on dressing as immodestly as possible and gorging yourself on junk-food. I just don’t feel up to celebrating it. We also ignore the darker side of Halloween. I had a friend once tell me that she could never celebrate Halloween with her kids after hearing about some of the rituals and abuse still practiced by some on that evening. Of course, we’re all aware of the pagan roots of the holiday, but we assure ourselves that it’s all just for fun in our modern world.
There is something worth celebrating on this day though. October 31, 1517, is the day that Martin Luther bravely took his 95 thesis and nailed them to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenburg, Germany. He pointed out the discrepancies between what the Bible teaches and what the Catholic Church was doing. In our age of free speech, maybe we forget what courage that required. A few years later Luther was excommunicated and had to run and hide to avoid execution for his words. Thanks to his willingness to follow God, we do not live in a world where we believe that we have to buy our way into Heaven.
Maybe I should take my kids trick or treating tonight – dressed up as Martin and Katherina Luther. His faith makes me ashamed of the moments that I have not spoken up for my faith, but also encourages me to be bold the next time.
If you are like me and have sometimes been the only parent with children at a Reformation Day service, check out this site for some ideas on celebrating the Reformation instead of Halloween.
If you are interested in learning more about Martin Luther, this is a good place to start.
How does Martin Luther’s story inspire you? What will you do to celebrate the Reformation?