Last year was the first year we actually participated in Halloween. Neither Luke nor I had ever trick or treated before, and we always analyzed and discussed this every year, never feeling quite comfortable with it. So last year was a giant step for us out of our comfort zone, and we kind of did it with fear and trepidation.
God is growing us and changing us, challenging us to embrace our neighbors, love them, figure out what gets people out of their houses and enjoying each other’s company; relating to each other and building relationships…(notice a theme?). We are so weak at this! We want to be better, we want to have better relationships with our awesome neighbors, we want to meet more neighbors. It’s a work in progress, friends, and it’s slow. And it’s definitely a way this homebody momma has to be challenged daily, to get out of my comfy home and walk around outside and enjoy my neighbors, my friends.
In the past, when Halloween would come up, we had to figure out what to do about it–will we turn off lights, turn on lights, hand out candy, leave the premises, attend a fall festival, do costumes, no costumes, etc, etc. Last year was the same. Except we finally asked the question, “Why don’t we celebrate Halloween again? I’m really not sure anymore.”
So Luke and I spent time thinking about it, researching it a bit, our pastor led a small group discussion about it, we prayed about it, and we finally landed on this: this is the one time of the year all your neighbors actually come out of their houses at the same exact time, actually ring your doorbell, and most people are in really great moods. We figured that shutting ourselves up in our safe houses to avoid zombies was just a really weird way of closing our neighbors out of our lives, yet again.
So last year we embraced it. Not the dark, sinister, scary side, have you. We are children of light, we worship the Father of Lights, so we won’t celebrate the dark side. But we won’t shun those who do. Our neighbors came over for chili in the front yard, each bringing a dish to share. We pulled out the lawn games, opened up the garage for some ping-pong, and voila! A neighborhood gathering. It was such fun.
And the kids dressed up and indeed went trick or treating, with our neighbors. It was a really fun night and we felt we were a part of something unique and special. It challenged our traditional Christian views for sure, and not everyone will come to the same conclusions that we did, and we understand that.
But for us, it was a beautiful way to spend time with neighbors, building trust and friendships that are sooo important!
And so this year, we plan to do the same thing. In fact, I hope to do some official inviting starting tomorrow (or if you are my neighbor and are reading this right now!)…
May I encourage you? This might be the year that God wants you to embrace your neighbors instead of leaving them in the dark. It might be the perfect opportunity to make some new friends, host a party, decorate cookies, have a chili cook off, just round up the neighbors for cider and trick or treating, whatever.
And if it’s not the year for you, that’s fine too–but maybe consider it a bit? Think of ways you can bless your neighbors and get to know them better.
We definitely don’t claim to have it all right around here, but we love our neighbors and know that God put us here in this neighborhood on this street for a reason, and we need to make the most of it.