This weekend at Vineyard, each family will receive a stack of invite cards to drop in the trick-or-treaters' bags. (Jon Quitt)

Halloween is a strange day for Christians. A wide array of convictions are held concerning Oct. 31. For many, it stirs up images of ghosts and witches and sacrificial ceremonies that find their genesis in the occult. It is the one day of the year that is a reminder of a very real devil and his kingdom of darkness and destruction. Countless Christians (who love Jesus deeply), have a profoundly held belief that to participate in this day in any way is to celebrate, or at the very least, acquiesce to the destructive forces of the enemy of our souls. I understand and have a deep respect for those who choose not to dress up, hand out candy, go to Fall Festivals or any other activity that seeks to normalize a dark holiday. I get it.

However ...

There are also many other Christians (who also love Jesus deeply) that recognize there aren't many calendared holidays that provide more opportunity for gospel witness than Halloween. I understand this may create a tension inside your heart as a Jesus person. Perhaps you grew up hearing about the devilish statistics of occult activity on this one day. Maybe you have read how predators and perverts use this day as a perennial stomping ground of conquests. The tendency is to bolt the doors and keep our family close.

While I can't confirm the veracity of every scary statistic, I can confirm one statistic for sure—more people will knock on your door this one day than any other day of the year. With that information in mind, Christian: Don't waste Halloween!

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Turn on your lights. Put a smile on your face. Give out the good candy this year! Don't be a cheapskate and hand out that garbage from the Dollar Tree. And have fun! Even more than that, be a gospel witness. Use the darkest time of the year to shine the brightest. Isn't that how light works?

Christian, let me challenge you: Don't make this day about you! Make this scary, dark day about shining the light of Jesus to those who long for the light.

I love one of the ways our church is equipping our people to do this. This weekend at Vineyard, each family will receive a stack of invite cards to drop in the trick-or-treaters' bags. It's just one small way to say, "We're here! Jesus is real. He loves you!" There are also a couple groups that I know of who are grilling hot dogs and giving them to hungry parents as they herd their sugar-crazy children.

Christian, let's not waste another day to put on display the radical generosity and grace of Jesus. Whether it be Flag Day, Monday or Halloween, Jesus is breaking into the darkness.

Jon Quitt serves as lead pastor for Vineyard Community Church in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He is the author of We're All Heroes in Our Own Story (Crosslink, 2016). This article originally appeared on jonquitt.com.

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