I took advantage of another opportunity later that summer when my family and I went on a vacation. I don’t remember why, but we came home a little earlier than expected. That gave me an idea, so I called Piper and as we talked I expressed how excited I was about being able to see her when we returned “the next day!” Then I immediately sneaked to her house and rang the doorbell with a silly grin of anticipation of the look on her face and a small gift in my hand. My surprise was slightly muffed though when her younger sister answered the door, gave me a strange look and proclaimed: “What are you doing here?” I was a little taken back but was saved when Piper appeared from behind her with a surprised look, accompanied by one of her patented wonderful smiles that would simply turn me inside out! Once again, I was rewarded with a hug that never felt better (after all, I hadn’t seen her for a whole week!), and a smooch… as soon as we were alone!
The comment that was asked about “What are you doing here?” got me to thinking about Halloween today. I have never been a fan of scaring people with tricks, or gross costumes. For years we held a giant carnival on Halloween at our church which was the highlight of the season and a wonderful tool to introduce the many visitors who would come to the purpose, passion and life of our church. During the last couple of years that we held the carnival, we had it on the weekend previous to Halloween. This not only worked out better for our volunteers, but it also freed us up to go around our neighborhood on Halloween with our kids.
For years we were not home when the hordes came trick or treating, and I really wanted to be home and make it known that we supported the other children and their families in our neighborhood. As I have mentioned before, my wife always made it a point to get to know the neighbors and share the love of God with them. We were the house where most of the kids hung out during the week, and it just didn’t seem right that we were gone on Halloween when everyone else was in the streets enjoying the night. My wife and I always wanted to show our neighbors the fun of living the Christian life even when we might not agree with the underworld emphasis of this particular holiday event.
On the first year that we went out, we noticed the surprised looks of the parents that answered the door when our kids knocked that said: “What are you doing here?” Our kids dressed in their historical or other non-demonic costumes would giggle with glee and talk with those at the door and Piper and I would smile and wave from the street. Those seemingly small expressions that showed that we cared for our neighbors, really helped to solidify our place in their lives and I am sure was part of the catalyst that opened the door for my wife to share the gospel with them and or be there when they needed a compassionate ear to listen to and console them when problems arose in their lives.
How do your neighbors see you? Do they see your house as an open, non-judgmental place where they can go when they hurt and need a hug, a compassionate ear or just be in the peace of the presence of Him that abides in your home? Will your house be dark and unavailable tonight, or a brightly lit, welcome sign of His presence, His peace and His love? Have fun tonight and allow Him to ooze off of you every time you open the door and hear the words “Trick or Treat!” Stay in tune to His Word and keep asking yourself… “What am I expecting TONIGHT?”
PS: Sorry this is late today, but I spent most of the day in ER with Piper. All's well now though! More about our day in tomorrow's blog!