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Light in the Darkness
Photo: Janet Goulden
Wow!  Working at a public high school on Halloween can be a pretty scary experience. The kids were free to come to school in costume, so as I walked in the door, I saw a variety of gory, bloody, gruesome attire. And the winners at the end of the day (awarded by a vote from the teachers, I might add) were the creepiest ones of all. My pick would have been the boy in pink pants and sunglasses imitating Elton John. But that wasn't bloody enough.

I have to say, the observation I made today that surprised me the most was that most of the kids did NOT come in costume. At first I felt this was a good sign. You know, that maybe Halloween and blood and gore and celebrating evil was losing its appeal! But as the day wore on, I realized the opposite was true. The kids are just not shocked by it. It's nothing unusual. Nothing noteworthy. Nothing to make a special day of. After all, it's common to see kids wearing Gothic clothing and faces painted in black every day of the week. It's normal to discuss movies that feature people communicating with the dead. It's routine to see daggers and skeletons and corpses in popular video games. And blood? That's old school. What's so special about disfigured body parts when eyebrows,lips, noses, and tongues are being pierced on any old day of the year?

So what's the big deal with Halloween? It just doesn't stand out that much, which is fine with me. I'd love for it to be completely unnoticed. But the point is, Halloween doesn't stand out because the darkness that Halloween represents hovers so heavily in every day life.

Not Scary in the"Boo" Sort of Way

It's sad, though. And scary, yes. But not scary in the "boo"sort of way. It's scary that we have become so desensitized by evil that the appearance of evil before our very eyes doesn't shock us. Still, I have to say my heart sank as I watched a beautiful young girl today whose blonde hair and fair skin were covered with painted drips of red. This girl, I thought, was created in the image of God. Just like everyone else. I ached for her to be covered with the blood of Jesus instead!  And even though I don't know her personally and can't judge her heart, I am afraid for her. I'm scared for the young man who dresses in black clothing and wears black Gothic makeup every day to school. I'm frightened for the future of people who are so familiar with evil that they actually prefer darkness. I'm fearful that tomorrow when Halloween is over, it won't really be over.

However, as scary as these signs of evil are, there are also signs of light. There was the girl in biology who paused to pray before she took her test. There was the freshman girl who spoke up and told the whole class that they should abstain from sex until marriage (which I couldn't resist applauding aloud for). There is the young gentleman who pulls my chair out for me every day. And there is the science teacher who does his best to throw in a word for Creation whenever he gets the chance. The truth is, we were all born into darkness. It was a dark world before we came on the scene and it may get darker yet. But the Light of the World is as bright as He ever was, and He has brought us out of darkness into the light. In Jesus there is blood that transforms darkness into light. There's his death that offers life! It's our choice whether we live in the shadows or whether we live in the light.

So, after enduring another October 31, let's embrace this memory text as a reminder that if we choose God, we choose light. And God's light is able to bring us out of darkness, no matter what. 

I am the light of the world: he who follows me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have thelight of life" (John 8:12). 

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By Gwen Scott Simmons. Copyright © 2006 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW KING JAMES VERSION © 1982.

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