Last night, 60 or so children and their parents came to the vicarage in search of sweets given in reward for a new stock of terrible jokes! They were dressed in violence and blood, and how I wish we had adopted the American custom of simply bedecking children in fancy dress. But that said, 60 children and their parents came to my door last night.
As a Christian, should I have turned them away? A few years ago I would have. The celebration of witches, magic and evil turns my stomach. But is a celebration of evil what is actually going on? I think not.
The children come to my door because supermarkets tell them they will get free sweets. The parents let them because pester power and peer pressure is immense. This is no celebration of evil, darkness in opposition to light. This is commercial opportunism.
I lit candles, carved love-heart pumpkins, gave a generous welcome and prayed a blessing on the families who came to my door. My prayer for their homes is for sweet love to light their homes with love, that they might in turn offer hospitality to the weakest in our community. This is probably the most useful way I can communicate our Gospel of love and peace in our secular society.