I like Oriental Trading Company. I grew up flipping through their magazine and watching my mom pick out items to buy for various events. However, their “Fun and Faith” catalogs are becoming ridiculous–trying to force a cutesy version of Jesus to fit with any occasion and tossing out church traditions that have been around longer than any of their plastic toys.
The most recent example came in my mailbox last week.
A catalog with an array of pumpkin-themed toys and crafts proclaiming to “Shine with the Light of Jesus”.
Pages that have trinkets that say things like, “Batty for Jesus” and “Harvesting for Him”.
While I suppose these things aren’t evil or anything, nor am I a hardliner who believes that Christians shouldn’t enjoy the secular traditions of Halloween (how else was I going to build my candy stash as a kid?). However, it did take me by surprise that the company has worked so hard to reinvent Halloween to make it “Christian” when there are already two church festivals that occur at the same time.
First off, as a good Lutheran I can’t talk about October 31 without mentioning Reformation. All Hallow’s Eve was the day Martin Luther posted “The Disputation on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences”, or better known as his 95 Theses, on Wittenburg Castle Church. Consequently, we remember Luther’s work and our assurance of salvation through grace on October 31 (side note: 2017 marks the 500th anniversary of the 95 Theses posting. Mark your calendars for epic celebrations).
Secondly, November 1 is All Saints’ Day. It’s the day we remember all those who have died in the faith, from Biblical greats like Peter and Paul to loving grandparents. It’s a beautiful reminder of God’s promise of eternal life during our struggles in this world. Likewise, it has some awesome hymns.
With 2 church festivals on October 31 and November 1, why make Halloween “Christian”? I suppose it has to do with marketing. Little smiling pumpkins are cuter than a monk nailing papers to a door. “Batty for Jesus” is catchier than “Praying for a blessed end”. And children will always be attracted to candy and cheap plastic toys.
How do you balance Halloween traditions with church festivals?