I’ve noticed a trend over the last few years around Halloween. No longer are kids cutting into the pumpkins to scoop out the goo before cutting in a face and setting it aglow. Kids are sometimes now asked to use paint to make their jack-o’-lanterns in October. No cutting involved. I’ve even seen pictures of pumpkins decorated with duct tape and glitter and ribbons. Again, no cutting of the pumpkin involved.
One of the best children’s sermons I’ve heard each October relates being a Christian to carving pumpkins at Halloween. When we carve a pumpkin, we wash off all the dirt from the pumpkin patch, cut a hole in it, scoop out all the yucky stuff, and light the inside for the world to see. As a Christian, God scoops out all the yucky stuff in our souls, our sins of greed and envy and pride and more.
This is the evil in everything that happens under the sun: The same destiny overtakes all. The hearts of people, moreover, are full of evil and there is madness in their hearts while they live, and afterward they join the dead. ~ Ecclesiastes 9:3
Then God lights up our souls so we can see the good in ourselves and live in the light with him. God loved us so much that he gave us his son to walk amongst us and teach us for a brief time, and those teachings still are with us today in the Bible.
Studying what Christ taught us through parables and stories gives us a light in our souls that we can carry into the world. Although he is no longer with us physically on this earth, we still carry His light into the world. We light a candle and place it in our pumpkins in October, but Christ transfers his light into the world through us.
For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. ~ 2 Corinthians 4:6
Decorating a pumpkin with paint or duct tape or anything else may make it pretty, even beautiful. But it does nothing to help light the darkness. Likewise, if we say we are Christians and go to church each Sunday but do not live our faith every day, we are not lighting the world with Christ’s love. We are simply pretty Christians in name only.
I understand the trend of decorating the pumpkins instead of using knives that could be unsafe and cause accidents. But isn’t that what Christ was about? In his teachings, he often disrupted people’s ways of thinking, and tried to get them to look at the world in a different and more loving way. He started Christianity by being messy and not being afraid to cut through and scoop out the bad of the world to find our hearts.
You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. ~ Matthew 5:14-16
What kind of Christian do you want to be? Will you be the pretty pumpkin who sits on a shelf and does nothing to light up the darkness of the world?
Or will you allow God to scoop out your sadness and misery and sins, and put a candle of love in our soul to share with the world?
The choice is yours.