Whose side are we on?

I saw a strange story on the local evening news the other night. A man built an elaborate and ghoulish display in his front yard in honor of his dead mother because her favorite holiday was Halloween. She loved Stephen King and “all things spooky” so he created bloody, maliciously-leering, animatronic demon figures and set them up like a shrine to her.

Just think about that for a minute. What this man seems to want others to know about his mom is that she loved evil, darkness, and death. No…he might object…she loved Halloween and scary stories of cruel, malevolent people and creatures, and horrifying scenes of paralyzing fear and gruesome murders.

Like I said.

Now I realize, of course, that folks who love horror and gruesomeness don’t love it in the same way that Satan and his minions do.

“Wait a minute…Satan? Is that what this is about? Satan is just an archaic myth created to frighten Christians into submission. That’s why demon figures, demon masks, and demon TV characters are all about just having some harmless, strictly fanciful demon fun.”

And that’s why you are just playing into his hands when you deny his existence. Murderers and thieves would consistently succeed in their evil deeds if they were invisible. And a demon can do a lot of mischief undetected if folks believe he doesn’t even exist.

Mischief is really too innocuous a word, though, to describe the devil’s deeds. Wicked, evil, and vile get a little closer to the essence. To his essence. How he must revel in the sight of humans acting like him and finding enjoyment in the same things he does. Experiences are always better shared with others, are they not? Is giving Satan a thrill really what we want to be doing?

And do we really want to spit in God’s eye by cavorting with his enemy? What an offense it is to him when we “celebrate” a day that is all about everything he hates…when we decorate with darkness and death and traffic in evil, gore, and fear. God is love, light, and life. The devil…the serpent…Lucifer…Satan…is his very antithesis, and when we participate in the marks of the devil we are making a choice between the two. An unwise and dangerous choice.

Here’s another question for you: What does it say about us when Halloween is no longer a one-day event but a month-long focus, and the lead-up to it in home decorations, preparations and commercial advertising is now about the same as for Christmas? The disparity between what each holiday represents, as between death and life, suggests that it’s a bit incongruous to celebrate both.

But we do. We live in contradiction all the time. Thank God he loves us anyway and is ready to forgive all who turn to him in faith.

How appropriate that in-between the devil’s holiday and the celebration of the birth of Christ is a holiday that reminds us who holds the keys to death and life…our death and life…and to whom we owe our grateful allegiance.