Happy Anne Frank Day! October 31 is the day we celebrate the life and death of Anne Frank by turning out all the lights and hiding in a room writing in our diaries with flashlights. Whenever there’s a knock at the door, we quickly cover our little lights and are absolutely silent lest the Gestapo at the door discover we’re in hiding.
Rap, rap, rap goes the knocking, coupled with the less than idle threats yelled out in unison: “Trick or Treat”, which roughly translates in German, “Give up your Jews, or we’ll toilet paper your house.”
Huddling closer together and shivering in fear, we pray silently until they go away.
This is how many Christians spend their Halloweens, or they go to some kind of Fall/Harvest Festival put on by their local church. In fact, Anne Frank Day is how I’ve spent every Halloween since I’ve come to Christ. The mock holiday is the joke/tradition my wife and her family have for Satan’s little costume party, which to date we’ve adopted in our own family.
But today in church as the announcement for the Fall Festival came up, I was struck by how odd it was that a missional church would walk away from such an amazing opportunity, then convicted that I would walk away from such an amazing opportunity. I mean how often is it that the world comes to our door asking for a gift?
And as Christians, we have the best gift there is in Jesus Christ, but we turn the lights off. Then the conviction really turned up a notch when the Holy Spirit brought the following words of Christ to heart:
You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16)
So here’s what I propose. Let’s look at this pagan holiday, not as an evil to be avoided, but as an opportunity to share the Gospel. Let’s get some tracts to give out with our candy. Let’s get some guts to speak to our visitors about the God who sees through every mask we put on, yet still loves us enough to offer us forgiveness and redemption through the death and resurrection of His son, Jesus Christ. Let’s give them Jesus; he’s the best treat they’ll ever get anyway.
If you’ll stand on the hill with me, I invite you to not turn out your lights this Halloween, neither on your doorstep nor on your life.
P.S. There is actually an Anne Frank Day on June 12th every year. If you want to celebrate it hiding under your bed with your diaries and a flashlight, feel free.