Our neighbors have gone all out. Fake spider webs all over the bushes. A devious looking stuffed crow on top of the bird feeder. A giant spider that pops up from the ground when Trick or Treaters step close to the sensor.
They love Halloween. They told me "It's their favorite!" In case, I couldn't tell that from the massive amount of Halloween decorations.
So I got to thinking...why does the secular world love Halloween so much? Is it the candy? The dress up? The decorations?
I'm thinking there's another reason:
Halloween is the only holiday that isn't scary.
Yes, I know there are monsters, skeletons and goblins, but...none of these are real! We all know this. So we have fun pretending to be scared! We enjoy celebrating things that aren't going to get us. Pretending.
A goblin is a lot less scary than losing a job. A vampire can do less harm than a bad boyfriend. A one eyed greed monster will harm me less than cancer!
We don't really have to wear garlic to ward of vampires. We don't need to watch out for black cats. We don't need to have a gun with silver bullets under our pillow in case of werewolf.
But Christmas? That's scary. At Christmas, we're faced with an Almighty God come down to earth. Is that baby really God? If so, I can't assume that he's too pleased with how I've lived my life!?! What will he do?
And Easter? God killed? Because of my sins? He can't be too happy about that. Then, he comes back to life! It's real too. There's over 500 witnesses. I think I'd rather stay away from that.
What about that other holiday on October 31st? Reformation.
Now that's scary!
Because on Reformation, we are faced with the violently, frightening truth that God exists! He is real and he really hates sin. Suddenly, the things that we normally ignore as "no big deal" become the very things that will threaten us with eternal pain!
Scarier yet, there's nothing we can do about it! We can't run and hide. There aren't vegetables we can strap around our neck to ward off God. We can't even appease him with gifts or good behavior.
We're as good as dead -- eternally! That's horrifying!
But, just like any good horror movie, when all hope is lost...came our Savior! Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.
Here's what he did. He confronted our sins. He wrangled them away from us and confronted God's wrath head on. He died a gruesome death and our sins died with him.
Then, three days later, in a miracle testified as real by over 500 witnesses, our hero returned from the grave. Not as a zombie, but as the conquering Lord of heaven and earth. Our Savior.
But the sin wasn't with him! It was dead. He alone was alive. He promises that we too, through faith in him, will live!
Colossians says it this way,
"Jesus has rescued us out of the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the One he loves, in whom we have the forgiveness of sins"
Suddenly, the scary message of Reformation is turned on its head. It is no longer scary, but joyful. When we couldn't save ourselves from our own demons of the past, Jesus Christ does save us! He conquered sin, death and the devil for you!
With Jesus on our side, there's nothing to be afraid of.
Join us this Sunday for Reformation Service at 10:30am.