Chuck Terrill: Holiday Competition?

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

I pulled out of my drive at 3:30 a.m.

I couldn't sleep and had much to accomplish at the office, so I left home early. I was startled to see an eerie glow through an area resident’s front window. I slowed down the car, rubbed my eyes, and looked closely. What I had thought might be a flickering fire burning in the front room turned out to be something else.

Could it be? Christmas lights? In early October? I was almost at a dead stop in front of the house. No, it wasn't Christmas lights. It was Halloween lights. An orange and black strand of lights circled the front picture window of the house. That's why the eerie glow looked so unusual. I am pretty sure I have never seen Halloween lights before. But there they were, encircling the window just a like a set of Christmas lights.

We used to complain if the Christmas decorations began appearing in the stores before Thanksgiving. But now, Halloween and Christmas are being displayed side by side in most retail outlets. And from what I can tell, Halloween is keeping up with Christmas when it comes to floor space at Walmart, Lowe’s, and Menards.

Halloween is taking on the same feel as Christmas. One has gifts and one has candy. You can decorate for either, or both, to your heart's content. Both holidays generate excitement and anticipation in children. Special parties may be planned for both. I know that billions of dollars are being spent. In preparation, many people get an early start. The traditions of both days are being carried through, year to year.

It is obvious that the traditions that used to be unique to Christmas are now being applied to the celebration of Halloween. Yards are full of decorations. From what I can see, some people go “all out” for Halloween. The same is true of Christmas.

It almost seems like the two days are in competition with each other. Both holidays have a special “eve.” But there is a notable difference. Christmas Eve celebrates the birth and life of the loving Lord Jesus. Halloween celebrates....what? Death and evil? Fear? Spiders, snakes, and scorpions? Zombies, werewolves, vampires, bats, witches, and demons?

I wonder? Wouldn't it be just like Satan to try to surpass Christmas? Satan is a great mimicker, offering the world that which looks good, but in reality, isn’t. Wouldn't Satan love it if another celebration overshadowed the celebration of the birth of Jesus?

Pay attention to your neighbor's house and front yard. Compare October with December. What you see might be an accurate spiritual reflection of our culture.

Chuck Terrill, who has doctorates from Master Theological Seminary and Trinity Seminary, is the senior minister at First Christian Church in Cassville. He may be reached at 471-847-2460.