Halloween & Christmas

There is much said in God’s Word that should cause us, as children of God, to analyze the traditional practices that constitute our daily lifestyle. Being delivered from the “power of darkness” and translated into the kingdom of God’s Son, we are expected to walk as “children of light”. (Col 1:13, 1 Thess. 5:4-5, Eph. 5:8). The Apostle Paul admonishes us to “walk not as other Gentiles walk in the vanity of their minds. Having their understanding darkened…” (Eph. 4:17).

The Word of God demands that we manifest a lifestyle that is “blameless and harmless”, so we might “shine as lights” though we live “in the midst of a crooked and perverse” society. (Phil. 2:15). We are to do all things to please God. (Jn. 8:29).

“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men…and not after Christ.” (Col. 2:8).

In just a few weeks, millions of people in various parts of the world will be celebrating what we have come to know as Halloween and Christmas. If it has not started already, we will be inundated with the anticipation of these events on every side – from television, to radio, to store shelves, to billboards, to decorations. To say these celebrations are highly commercialized is a gross understatement. As early as May of each year, commercial organizations work on extensive Christmas campaigns that they hope will be successful in separating you from your money. However, it is important to realize that what is catered for is the lust of the people. Yes, even God’s people! But without going too deeply into the origins of these celebrations, it is hoped that in pointing out some facts, it will cause each of us to see that the Devil is at the heart of it all – a definite reason to consider.

Research has shown that Halloween has a very sinister origin. It started almost two thousand years ago with the Celts giving worship to a god of the dead, named Samhain, so that the souls of the dead would not haunt the living. It has to do with pagan rites, demon worship, and a myriad of superstitions, which are orchestrated by the Devil for his glory. The grossness of the creatures, such a ghosts, ghouls, witches and spiders, depict the darkness associated with this celebration. Something as simple as the giving of candies represents a custom of giving treats to spirits to appease them so they will not trick you. It is necessary that God’s children understand these things, rather than just falling in step with everyone else. We are to respond in a way that would be pleasing to God, and not get entrapped in Satan’s snare.

Christmas, with its mistletoe, Christmas trees and Santa Claus is the so called celebration of the birth of our Lord Jesus. Unfortunately, this winter festival is not Christian in its origin and can be traced back to many pagan roots. Among these, December 25th commemorated the feast day of the Persian god, Mithras. On this day, adherents of Mithraism exchanged gifts, made merry and visited one another. Perhaps due to the many similarities in both religions, it appears that Christianity adopted this day as Christ’s birthday. The season and tradition of Mithraism were absorbed into the Christian religion replacing Mithras with Jesus. As Christianity expanded and Mithraism died out, we were left with the jolly Christmas Season we have come to know. The aspect of Santa Claus, with elves and flying reindeer, came much later.

The child of God must consider his ways before the Lord. God told Israel: “When thou art come into the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations.” (Deut. 18:9). Again in Leviticus 18:3 God demands, “after the doings of the land of Egypt wherein ye dwelt, shall ye not do: and after the doings of the land of Canaan whither I bring you shall ye not do: neither shall ye walk in their ordinances.”

In his warnings to Israel against heathen practices that existed around 600 B.C., the prophet Jeremiah declares; “Hear ye the word which the Lord speaketh…learn not the way of the heathen…for the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest…they deck it with silver and gold; and fasten it with nails…that it move not…” (Jer. 10:1-4). Is this not a description of the Christmas tree of the 21st Century? Strange as it may appear, the Christian, the sinner, the atheist, and the heathen seem to all enjoy a common bond in the festivities of Christmas.

So, regarding these seasons, what should be the Christian position? Can a child of God live in Egypt and not partake of its cucumbers”? (Num. 11:5). To what extent is abstinence expected from the believer? Let us consider the following for personal application.

1. A child of God should never be involved in anything that is blatantly condemned by God’s Word.
2. Temperance and moderation should be used in those areas where there is no direct scriptural restrictions.
3. We should be wise and live peacefully with all men if we are to win them.
4. Without compromising our godliness, we should, if possible, use these occasions for doing good and honouring God. Christmas can unite the family.
5. Never adopt to the spirit of the masses by excessiveness, but rather, give full attention to the voice of the Holy Ghost.

Scripture exhorts us to use this world but not to abuse it. This would imply not going ‘overboard’. (1 Cor. 7:31). While the Christmas season may be tolerated because of Christ being some sort of minor focus, sending our children out in costumes at Halloween should be an absolute “no.” At the same time it would be an un-Christian thing to turn kids away from our door that are “trick or treating”. Having said all of the above, it is now left to the reader to be guided by the Holy Ghost in these matters. “If we would judge ourselves we would not be judged of the Lord.” (1 Cor. 11:31).