Bob and Weave

Musings of an impostor. Welcome to the masquerade.

Halloween > Christmas?

Posted by flyingbk on 10/31/2016

Everyone knows the grossest part of Halloween. It’s candy corn, of course.

When I was a kid, I enjoyed candy corn. It was a special treat only to be eaten around this time, and this tri-colored triangular concoction was a delight to my eyes as well as my mouth. It’s funny how taste evolves over time; for example, I was that kid who needed his kimchi dipped into water to get the spice out. Now, I love all spicy food and I love kimchi. And since I’m an adult, I’ve come to abhor candy corn for the monstrosity that it is. For you parents who possess kids who savor this abhorrent “treat,” do not be troubled for your kids will surely grow out of it. Hopefully.

The Holy Trinity of candy is common knowledge: Naturally it’s M&M’s, Reese’s Pieces, and Almond Joy. (Honorable Mention: Kit-Kats. And if you are not a fan of Almond Joy, please see yourself out now.)  I envy the kids who will come home tonight with bags full of those top three delights, and pity those who will be stuck with licorice… and candy corn.

The thought hit me yesterday that we are in the homestretch of 2016. Life comes at you fast. Before we know it, it’ll be Thanksgiving, then Christmas, and finally we’ll be watching the ball drop to ring in 2017. Craziness.

I find a deep irony in a key difference between Halloween and Christmas. No, not because my main choice of Halloween costume when I was a kid was the devil, with a markered-on goatee and a classic red-and-black pitchfork.

Consider: We know that Halloween is not a Christian holiday. It actually has Christian origins, but pagans then got a hold of it. There are many churches today that either refuse to celebrate it or seek to redeem it (Holy Win, Hallelujah Fest, etc.). I wrote about the death of Jack Chick on Friday, and tracts like this one echo the conservative view toward Halloween.

But let’s think about Christmas. The gifts we give one another depend on many factors: your relationship with them (family/friends/co-workers), how close you are, whether you think that person will give you a gift and therefore you feel obligated, how much you like that person. We’re all like Santa in his song about coming to town: We’re making a list, checking it twice, gonna find out who’s naughty or nice. And there is so much stinkin’ work that goes into all the planning and shopping: The myriad of trips to the mall, constantly checking online deals, even tussling and fighting with people on Black Friday. Come early-to-mid-December, the consensus among my friends is this:” I’m exhausted.”

Halloween, on the other hand, is completely different. If you’re a host who gives out candy, you buy a few bags; it only takes one trip and not much thought or stress at all. There’s no thought of making a list of people or worry of forgetting anyone or anything.

And who gets candy? EVERYONE. Or rather, anyone who utters three simple words: Trick or treat. Doesn’t matter if the kid is naughty, nice, skinny, fat, cute, ugly, smart, dumb, a sweet kid, a jerk, a nerd, too young, too old, wears a thoughtful costume, wears no costume, brandishes a pitchfork. All you have to do is make a simple request for candy, and it’s yours. There’s no other questions, no other requirements.

In this way, Halloween reminds me of the gospel much more than Christmas. Romans 3:22-24 (NIV) says:

 

22 This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

Verse 22 says, “There is no difference.” That’s Halloween. Everyone gets candy, everyone gets the same amount, and usually, everyone gets the good candy (sadly, those who get candy corn may not be the chosen).

The gospel is simple: All you need to qualify for God’s offer of grace and unconditional love is to believe that you need it. You believe you need it, you get it. You utter three simple words to God: “I need you.” It doesn’t matter how good you’ve been, how bad you’ve been, if you grew up in church, if you’ve turned your back on God before… you believe and receive. You become “justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came through Christ Jesus.”

You don’t think you need it, you’d rather keep things under the illusion of your own control, you prefer keeping lists of naughty and nice for your life and others… you don’t get it.

So today, let’s remember the beauty and equality of the gospel. Let’s savor God’s unconditional love for us, how Jesus was carved up and then nailed to the cross for us. And save some Almond Joy for me.

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