One of my all-time favorite quotes from a movie comes from the lips of Ricardo Montalban, playing the genetic super-human Khan in the Star Trek franchise.
As he is near death, having been outsmarted by Captain Kirk, he uses his last breath to try to exact revenge. Quoting from “Moby Dick,” he says, “From Hell’s heart I stab at thee! For Hate’s sake, I spit my last breath at thee.”
I love the quote and the scene, because it shows so vividly the vociferous nature of arrogance, pride and hatred. It shows that evil will not give up until it has breathed its last shuddering breath! If evil is so determined, are Christians equally determined for good?
Much ink has been spilled by authors, bloggers and Christian preachers to the effect that Christians should never celebrate Halloween.
Today, I wish to spill some ink insisting that we Christians should in fact celebrate Halloween. My reasons are summed up in one thought: I will never knowingly, willingly, compliantly surrender a single battlefield to the enemy. Never!
Those advocating for Christians to abandon Halloween begin with the history of the day and explain why we cannot celebrate because of its history.
I don’t personally care one whit for its history. I couldn’t care less if some ignorant, superstitious Celts somewhere 2,000 years ago thought Death took a ride once a year and ghosts roamed the earth who could only be fooled by people lighting bonfires, dressing in costumes and feeding them with sweets. Nor that Celtic druids thought they could tell the future easier on that night than any other. Nor that early Christians felt they had to do something about the day so established a day for saints to take the place of the day for Death.
What I care about is what Halloween has become and what it can become if Christians don’t abandon the battlefield.
If Halloween is supposedly the night celebrated most by Wiccans, Satan worshipers, witches, warlocks and sorcerers, why would we as Christians abandon that day and leave it to them uncontested? Wouldn’t that give them even more reason to spread their lies and deceit?
After all, what are Wiccans, Satan worshipers and sorcerers, except for misguided souls backing the losing team? Why should Christians, on the winning side, abandon even one single day in the calendar to the losers? Are we afraid of our light being tainted by their darkness? Are we that uncertain of the quality of our light?
On Halloween night, I personally will join many other members of our congregation on the parking lot of our church building. We will line up our cars side by side with our trunks open and we will hand out candy and goodies to every person who wants some.
We will dress up in silly costumes and share a Snickers bar and a Reese’s peanut butter cup for no other reason than that it is fun and a family-friendly, enjoyable evening.
We will have huge light towers driving back the night.
We will be laughing, smiling and living unafraid on that night precisely because we know that sorcery and magic are nothing but superstition and Satan worship is wickedness in rejecting God.
We will also invite those visiting to worship with us sometime. We will gather in the name of goodness rather than evil.
Good, clean fun
On Halloween night, just by gathering in the name of Christ and good, clean fun, we will be standing up with Jesus who proclaimed in Matthew 16:18, “…upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.”
Christ was unafraid of the power of death. He was unimpressed by the forces of darkness and unafraid of the power of disembodied spirits. They could never and must never be allowed to overpower the church.
On Halloween night, I will stand with the apostle Paul, who in 1 Corinthians 15:55, proclaimed, “O Death, where is your victory? O Death, where is your sting?”
He knew, as do we, that Christ through His resurrection defeated Satan and destroyed the power of Death forever (I ain’t afraid of no ghosts!). I will stand with the apostle John, who in Revelation 19 beheld the ruined, smoking corpse of the great harlot who corrupted the earth with her immorality, as he joined with the hosts of heaven to proclaim, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns.” God reigns on Oct. 31, same as any other day of the year.
The devil will flee
I will join with James, the brother of Jesus, who proclaimed in his epistle, 4:7, “...resist the devil and he will flee from you.”
Somehow, I don’t see abandoning Halloween to the forces of darkness as resisting the devil. I see it as giving the devil one night to thumb his nose at the church.
As I dress in fun costumes and celebrate family in the Lord, I laugh at Satan’s inability to overcome Christ’s church. He cannot cause us to cower in fear of death, shadows or darkness.
If nothing else, on Halloween night, as with every other night of the year, I will celebrate the beautiful words of Robert Lowry in the hymn which proclaims, “Up from the grave He arose with a mighty triumph o’er His foes; He arose a VICTOR from the dark domain, and He lives forever with His saints to reign: He arose! He arose! Hallelujah! Christ arose!
Satan is a snake with no fangs. He is a dragon with his head crushed in. God will deal with the devil’s foolish followers in His own time.
In our time, let’s celebrate the victory of the Christ over death. Every day.
So, Happy Halloween!
Keith Cormier is minister of Southside Church of Christ in Killeen.