According to the National Retail Federation’s annual Halloween consumer survey, total Halloween spending this year will reach a record 10.6 billion dollars. Eeek!
I am not throwing stones. I love holidays, shopping, celebrating and generally having a fun time. I mean, Queen Elizabeth II’s appearance at Fall Fest didn’t happen on a dime.
But 10.6 billion dollars? That’s a lot of fixation on fright night. That’s a lot of profit on our fears. That’s a lot of money spent rubbing our noses in our own mortality.
Every year when I drive by front yards decorated with tombstones I think to myself, “They must not have a dear loved one who is literally buried under a literal headstone.” Because how could you decorate with a symbol of such profound grief?
And when I see blood and gore used as a costume prop, I think, “They probably never experienced the trauma of real violence, or felt the helplessness of a family member’s life slipping away.” Because it’s no longer all that funny if you’ve lived it for real.
And maybe it’s just me. I am sure I’m getting some eye rolls right now. I have plenty of friends for whom Halloween is their favorite holiday. I’m not judging. I’m just communicating my feelings. And I’m wanting to point our collective gaze up higher–to the face of Christ.
You see, I have witnessed in my lifetime a dramatic shift in culture. An internal, soul-level shift. People are tormented at unprecedented levels with depression, anxiety, fear, and hopelessness. With each generation of young people the torment grows.
Simply Google “increasing anxiety by generation” and you will see. Millennials and Gen Z are facing mental health struggles and pervasive fear at an alarming level and it’s not getting better.
I don’t have all the answers to all that. But I have an answer. Jesus.
Because you see, as followers of Jesus we don’t need to be afraid.
And I’m guessing you know that we don’t need to be afraid of silly things like ghosts and goblins, or zombies or The Grabber or Ghostface. It also means we don’t need to be afraid of more plausible troubles: apocalyptic climate change, the great reset, or paralyzing inflation. And it even means we don’t need to be afraid of more legitimate concerns: estranged relationships, financial collapse, ruined reputation.
It doesn’t mean we aren’t afraid. But we don’t need to be afraid. Not even of our deepest most profound fear.
Fear of Death.
There I said it. We don’t need to be afraid of dying. We don’t need to be afraid of our spouse dying. We don’t need to be afraid of our kids dying. We don’t need to be slaves to this fear of death.
Death is simply not the end. Remember? Remember Jesus and the resurrection and eternal life and the hope of heaven and all that? When these bodies give out and this life is over, that is literally just when it starts getting good for believers. This is a perfect time of year to remember that.
This particular season profits on our deepest, most profound fear. But Jesus’s victory is deeper and more profound still. May we live like that’s true. Because it is.
“Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death-that is, the devil-and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death” (Hebrews 2:14-15).
Fear not! 🙂