I grew up in a Christ-centered home full of love, music, and laughter, but for some reason from a young age, I was attracted to the macabre. I read a lot of Edgar Allen Poe and loved lying alone in my darkened bedroom. One afternoon on my bunk, I felt a sinister presence with me in the darkness and it shook me to my core. I had the presence of mind to run from the room and find my big sister. I asked her to pray for me because I was scared, but didn’t tell her what had happened. I realized I had opened myself up to the darkness, but continued to underestimate its hold on me.
Another day, I was home alone doing the dishes, heartbroken because my latest crush didn’t like me. Suddenly, I found myself holding a knife to my wrist. Pressing down I felt my pulse beat against the cold steel. I could stop the pain, I thought. Then a jolt awakened me. What was I thinking? Where did that thought come from?
A year or two later I gave my heart to Jesus as my Savior and Lord and He filled my whole world with light. But I’ve seen an ever-increasing darkness in our society. The works of Edgar Allen Poe are tame compared to the commercials our kids see on prime time television. Popular culture bombards them with the glorification of suicide, violence, and deviant sex. Vampires, witches, and werewolves are no longer bad guys, but the heroes of today’s entertainment. Our children are drawn to this darkness like deer to the headlights of an oncoming car.
An increasing number of kids are turning to self-mutilation and suicide. The Jason Foundation says suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for kids ages 10-24. “More teenagers and young adults die from suicide than from cancer, heart disease, AIDS, birth defects, stroke, pneumonia, influenza, and chronic lung disease, COMBINED.”
Why this dramatic upswing of hopelessness? I believe it’s from the absence of light in our society. Yet many people who do not know Jesus recognize these words from the twenty-third Psalm: “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for you are with me…” Instinctively we are aware there is a shadow of fear in the darkness which only the Good Shepherd can dispel. Yet, every year from August through October America hurtles toward darkness with eager anticipation.
Teachers read stories about “good” witches to school children. People of all ages fill up on thrillers and horror movies. People flock to haunted houses to scream in mock terror.
We buy candy by the cartload (gorging ourselves and restocking before Halloween night), spend billions on costumes and decorations, and even churches plan parties so children can celebrate in a safe environment. But not much is said about the Light of the world who came to save us from the darkness.
I used to celebrate Halloween, convinced it was harmless fun…until I discovered what was hiding behind the curtain. In plain sight, Satan masquerades as an angel of light, so we must continually remember to ask ourselves, “Are we are standing in the light of Jesus or wandering into darkness?”
The message of the gospel is Jesus came to shine God’s light:
“The people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned” (Matthew 4:16).
The reason we are attracted to darkness is that sin is fun…for a while:
This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil (John 3:19).
Jesus’ disciples are called to focus on and walk in His light:
“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life”… “I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness (John 8:12; John 12:46).
Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are healthy, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are unhealthy, your body also is full of darkness. See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness. Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will be just as full of light as when a lamp shines its light on you” (Luke 11:34-36).
The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light (Romans 13:12).
For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (Ephesians 5:8).
You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness (1 Thessalonians 5:5).
Even though we love those in the world, we are not to think or act like them:
Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? (2 Corinthians 6:14).
Our job is to share the Good News—no one has to live in darkness anymore!
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light (1 Peter 2:9).
This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5).
Does that mean Christians don’t get to do anything fun while everyone else parties up a storm every October? Absolutely not! We are the ones with a reason to party and we know the Author of laughter and fun. So let’s turn on the lights and play some music and dance for our King!
If you would like to learn more about walking in the light in this occult-rich Halloween season, pick up a copy of my book Taking Back October: https://www.amazon.com/Taking-Back-October-Believers-Pursuit/dp/1502516292/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=Taking+BAck+October%2C+Beth+Vice&qid=1601011896&sr=8-1. It begins with my personal Halloween story and those of former Satan worshipers. The scripture and discussion questions in each chapter will help you and your family or small group make informed choices on how to shine your light in this generation, and infuse your own home with light and truth.
Beth Vice is a wife, author, speaker, mom, mother-in-law, grandma, and Jesus seeker. She loves taking care of her husband Kelly and the home they share on the Oregon coast. She teaches their Sunday morning small group and leads critique workshops at Oregon Christian Writers conferences, where she serves as the In-Person Critique Group Coordinator. Beth has six books currently available and is working on the next two—a divorce recovery book for women and a Bible study on Revelation. Beth has a heart for women; she has found new delight in leading retreats at she and Kelly’s vacation rental at Black Butte Ranch, and wherever else God might lead her. She blogs at Epiphany: http://www.bethvice.com/. Beth loves getting outside for hikes and gardening, but prefers snuggling inside with a good book or coffee with a friend, in nasty weather.