I’ve never been a big Halloweener. Of course, my kids have been planning their costumes since July! But I don’t mind saying that I’d be just fine if everyone stayed all candy corn & pumpkins around this time of year. What’s with the fascination with vampires and werewolves or ghosts and zombies? I can’t even take my toddler to a pumpkin patch without having to dodge evil creatures hanging from the trees!
I realize there’s no real harm in my kids catching glimpses of those things. After all, it’s usually easy to laugh it off and redirect their little eyes. But I think it’s possible that there is a legitimate concern here. Is this the only input or insight into the supernatural that most kids receive?
This year I’m reminded that I surely don’t want the Halloween industry to define my kids’ thoughts or beliefs about spiritual things. And at the risk of sounding dramatic, I want to be careful that my kids don’t begin to trivialize evil and the unseen spiritual realm, as if it were fictitious or something only to be mocked.
I want my kids to be absolutely sure of the reality of, and the clear difference between good and evil, light and darkness. I want them to know that there is an entire spiritual world that, though it can’t be seen, is just as real as the physical one here. I want them to understand that there are real supernatural powers at play in the universe around us. I want them to learn how to relate to the supernatural—how to discern it rightly. I want them to be confident in combating the spiritual forces of evil, and in cooperating with the Holy Spirit of Light.
I want them to grasp that there is a real battle between good and evil, with two primary opponents: the wicked prince of the air, Satan, whose activity in the world is bent on killing, stealing, and destroying; and the warrior King Jesus whose activity on earth is seen through the work of the Holy Spirit, known for His valiant rescues and the giving of new life. And [spoiler alert] there is One who is already named Victor. And His victory has PROFOUND implications for our real lives.
The old theologian, A.W. Tozer says in his book The Pursuit of God,
“God and the Spiritual world are real. We can reckon on them with as much assurance as we reckon on the familiar world around us…our trouble is that we habitually think of the visible world as real and doubt the reality of any other…We must break the evil habit of ignoring the spiritual. We must shift our interest from the seen to the unseen. If we truly want to follow God, we must seek to be other worldly.”
How quickly we forget that our entire life should be marked by our interaction (whether in resistance or cooperation) with unseen, spiritual beings.
So perhaps, as we are trick or treating this year, we could use what our kids see as a springboard for some meaningful spiritual conversations that could extend into November and beyond. Here are a few simple spiritual conversation ideas from talks I’ve had with my older two boys (5yrs and 6yrs). As they get older, I can give them more information, but my goal will stay the same: to remind them often of the reality of the spiritual realm and how it relates to them in the physical.
- “Did y’all know that there are two kinds of worlds in the universe? Yep, there’s one that we can see with our eyes… the one with trees, cars, buildings, jobs, families, school, etc. And there’s one that’s totally hidden from our sight… the one with angels and demons, heaven, God and Satan in it. Both of these worlds are very real, even though we can only see one of them.”
- “In the unseen world, there are two kingdoms: The kingdom of light and the kingdom of darkness. You might know these two kingdoms as good and evil. Jesus is the King of Light and Satan is the ruler of darkness.”
- “When we choose to follow Jesus, we are choosing to be part of the kingdom of Light. And that means that Satan is not happy with us and will fight against us…Not the punching kind of fight though. Satan will use all his powers to try to get us to turn away from Jesus and move over with him to the kingdom of darkness.”
- “Jesus is more powerful than the darkness and has given us everything we need to fight back against Satan. It’s called the armor of God. And we are using it every time we have faith and believe what God has said, every time we resist temptation, every time we show kindness and make peace to people who’ve offended us, every time we obey God’s word, every time we stand our ground and push back the darkness…”
“A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.” –Ephesians 6:10-13
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