“Dad, why do we have to do this? Why can’t we just sit inside the house?”
My son was only eight years old at the time these words were uttered, and he didn’t want to meet new people on Halloween. He was in it for the candy, who could blame him?
I, however, knew that this was the only day of the year when all my neighbors would come knocking on my door. My wife Amy and I talked in advance about Halloween and how we wanted to engage it. We were new to the city and wanted to be a blessing.
As a family, we began hauling out all the gear we’d purchased. The candy, of course, hot chocolate, and water. Yes — water. Amy pointed out that every Halloween both kids and parents are thirsty. Everyone walks miles while coating their throats with the candy they acquire. And they want one thing — water. With this in mind, we wanted a place for weary travelers to rest, get warm, have a drink, and maybe meet each other.
We pulled out the lawn chairs too. But would that be enough? No, we needed the kitchen table and chairs as well. We even brought out the floor lamps. In the background, my son continued. “Why can’t we just go trick-or-treating like everyone else?”
“We’ll do a little of that,” I said, “but we’re going to do a little something different this year.”
“But no one else is doing this,” he continued. Then he asked again “WHY do WE have to do this?”
Then, in a Holy Spirit inspired moment I asked him, “Did Jesus wait behind a closed door for us?” He got quiet. I knew that I only had a few seconds to get this right, so I squatted down to his level, and gently continued. “No, Jesus left heaven to come into our neighborhood. But he didn’t just come into the neighborhood, Scripture says he pitched his tent right beside ours. That’s a way of saying, he came out to meet us. That’s why we’re doing it for others.”
“Okay,” he said. “But I’m still waiting inside the house.” I chuckled. You can’t win them all.
As the night unfolded, a number of neighbors and trick-or-treaters came by. It was a great time, some people even brought their own chairs. Many pointed out that there were better streets for trick-or-treating. We didn’t care though, we weren’t in it for that.
About halfway through the evening, one of our neighbors came out and pulled up a chair. She shared some of what we already knew. “You know,” she said, “this street isn’t very popular for trick-or-treating. There’s a better one a few blocks over.”
“That’s okay, That’s not the reason we’re doing this,” I replied. “Oh, well, why are you doing it?” She asked.
I explained to her that my son had just been asking the same question and that I’d answered him with these simple words, “Jesus didn’t wait behind a closed door for us, but he came out and joined us on the lawn.” Then I proceeded to share how we’d moved to that city to see a different kind of church planted. The kind where normal people could experience Jesus in normal life.
She had many questions, and we had a great conversation. But after about ten minutes I asked her what she thought of the idea that Jesus didn’t wait behind a closed door, but came out on the lawn.
“I’ve never heard anything like that,” she said. “It’s actually one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever heard.”
This is beautiful news, isn’t it?
As a disciple of Jesus, I view the scriptures through the lens of who God is and what he has done. I don’t approach scripture to primarily find out about good morals or examples to follow. Instead, I look at scripture, and life, through the lens of Jesus. John 1:14 says “The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood. We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father, like Son, Generous inside and out, true from start to finish.” (The Message)
If this were true, how would you approach this Halloween?
Friends, everything Jesus touched became holy. And because of his light, we have become lights in a dark world. How will you use your light on one of the most unique evenings of the year? I invite you to prayerfully consider this.
If it’s true that you’ve been made a kingdom of priests, then in a way, God has placed a church on your street. 1 Peter 2:9 tells us the purpose — “to proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”
Knowing this, we’re joining friends on their front lawn this year. What about you?
What are your plans to bless and serve your neighbors this Halloween?
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