“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you.” – Matthew 7:7
A quick google search reveals that there is a lot of controversy and differences of opinion on whether Christians should celebrate Halloween. There are three main responses to Halloween among Christian communities – rejection, acceptance, or redemption of the holiday. Are there clear unchristian elements in the holiday’s unhealthy fascination with evil? Absolutely. Is it inherently evil to allow our children to dress as superheroes to ask for candy from the neighbors? Not necessarily. It is surprising sometimes to see the faithful of the Armenian Church engage heavily in these debates, which often lack understanding of the roots and history of Armenian Christianity. After the conversion to Christianity, the Armenian Church, instead of eliminating and fighting against the pagan ritual and celebrations, found ways to meaningfully rethink, redefine and integrate them into Armenian spirituality and faith. Could we possibly apply this approach to Halloween? Is there anything in this celebration that can help us grow in our faith and understanding of how the loving Lord works in our lives? I think there is.
Imagine a typical Halloween evening. It is late October. It is probably cold, dark and windy outside—perfect weather to stay home and do nothing. But of course, that is not going to happen if you have young children. They have a totally different plan: a clear mission and a perfect master plan to collect as much free candy as possible. And neither the cold nor the darkness can possibly deter children from going house to house and filling their bags and baskets with candy enough to last them for months. There is something amazing about watching and observing them knocking on doors of strangers. The excitement and anticipation in their eyes and the fact that every single time they knock on a door, it opens and there is always someone really nice behind the door ready to greet them and offer them the object of their desires – candy.
This reminds me of the promise of our Lord, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” – Matthew 7:7. No matter where we are in life, no matter what we are going through or experiencing, He is always there, ready to respond and step into our lives with his blessing, peace and presence. Our God is not distant or disconnected. He is not interested in seating on his heavenly throne and being worshipped by the angels. He desires to be next to us and with us. But he also desires this relationship to be based on freedom and love. That is why it is necessary for us to raise our prayers and supplications to him, knock on his door, seek and ask him to step into our lives. Unlike Halloween, there is no single and special day in a year to do so. He is always there waiting for you and me. There is no need to wear a special costume nor worry about the state or appearance of spiritual or emotional life because He is there ready and waiting to embrace and accept us.