So we all get scared. It’s natural. But during certain times of the year, fear becomes the focus of our attention. With Halloween having just passed it dawned on me that promoting “fear” has become something we don’t have a problem with.
I understand that for many, Halloween is fun. You get to dress up, eat sweets and spend time with your family. But what if we looked past the costumes and sugary treats, is it possible that this annual celebration inadvertently affects people more than we know?
Halloween highlights fear, and for some people fear is a constant battle, it is something they can’t hide from and it consumes large parts of their daily lives. In Africa particularly, we have the reality of witchcraft and certain ancestral traditions which cause people to follow rules and belief systems in the fear that if they don’t they could be punished or even killed.
Further more beyond the reality of spiritual fears there are also more practical fears. Will I be able to afford food today? Where will I sleep tonight? Am I safe? These fears are all real and have power over people: fear is something that can cripple even the strongest amongst us.
So why celebrate it? If fear comes in so many forms and affects so many people then why do we find joy in promoting it? I am by no means saying that we shouldn’t have fun or partake in celebrations like Halloween, but rather that we are at least aware of the deeper issues that these celebrations are rooted in.
As for me, I’d rather celebrate something that gives us all hope and power, that allows us to experience fulfilment and joy each day despite circumstance: the amazing Abundant Life found through relationship with God. God doesn’t give us a spirit of fear but one of power, love and self-discipline. Unlike fear, life in Him has the power to set us free and it is given freely. Now that is worth celebrating!
So are we going to continue with the celebration of fear or rather look to celebrate the life we have been given?