Happy Halloween!

Every year I listen on in bewilderment to the debate over this seemingly innocuous holiday. This really never came up when I was a kid. I merrily trick-or-treated as a cat, a ghost, a witch, Huckleberry Finn, and finally (in college), Pierette, and I don’t remember anybody connecting the holiday with actal occult practice.
I can see the point of parents who don’t want their kids messing with supernatural trappings, but by putting the emphasis on how scary and dangerous the occult is, we implicitly grant the dark powers enough power over us to make us scared and keep us on the run from them. In addition, this probably often has the effect of making the occult seem more alluring to young people. My belief about the occult is that though it is possible for satan to give powers to his followers, I don’t really think he is that generous, he’s probably glad to accept the worship and let these people think they have some kind of special powers–the joke is on them.

I think that rather than giving the impression that we are so afraid that these evil forces might hurt us that we won’t even let our five-year-olds put on sheets and reap their harvest of sugary treats, we as Christians can view the day in a different way. To quote Bono quoting C.S. Lewis, “Mock the devil and he will flee from you.” The “real” occult is quite ridiculous–all crazy trappings and pathetic people running around in circles in their basements chanting, in the belief that all this frenetic activity will actually affect something–and I don’t see how anyone viewing the occult as it really is would find it attractive, especially in comparison to something as fundamentally real, powerful, and joy-filled as the experience of knowing the Savior, Jesus Christ. ( I should note that I myself was somewhat interested in New Age type stuff before I became a Christian, though I have a hard time believing my childhood Halloween experiences had much to do with it). Though as human beings on our own the occult can indeed hurt hearts, minds, and lives; with Jesus we are more than conquerors. We don’t need to fear the evil powers any more. By dressing up in costumes and celebrating Halloween (aka Reformation Day and the eve of All Saint’s Day), we are not joining in with the evil forces. Instead, we are acknowledging the real fears of life, not only of supernatural evil forces but of human evil; and by making the day into one of fun and frivolity we are celebrating that we need no longer fear anything. We are not worshiping the devil, we are mocking him–just as All Saint’s Day replaced a pagan holiday, fun with family and the universally enjoyable practice of dressing up and gorging on chocolate replaces fear of spirits and the supernatural.
I’m feeling quite happy with my new blog title, by the way. The reference to “Hyde Park” in the old one made me feel as though my entries should contain some intellectual content, since HP is a pretty intellectual place. The new one is much more comfortable, not to say descriptive.

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