It was our first Chinese New Year in Taiwan. Everything took us by surprise. The incense, the fireworks, the cleansing of homes, businesses, and cemeteries.
But, most interesting were the banners across every outer door. Calligraphed on strips of red paper, these rhythmic blessings were affixed in triplicate — one over the door frame, and one on each side.
Even after twenty years of living in Asia, I could rarely read every word, as each was stylized, symbolic, and specific. Yet, I knew that each home shared a common desire — invoking prosperity, health, and happiness upon each household.
Chinese Christians joined the tradition as well. Rather than choose an ancient Confucian invocation of favor, they often attached verses of God’s blessings over their home. In time, I found myself appreciating their bold statement of faith. It reminded me of the Israelites, who smeared the saving blood over the lintel and doorposts the night before they left Egypt (Exodus 12:22-23).
I confess to you that my viewpoint of many of our American customs has been tainted by my Chinese experience. At times, I still find myself viewing culture through the lens of an Asian eye. So, it is from the perspective of these experiences that I question the Halloween decorations that line my American neighborhood.
If there is power in the word and strength in the symbol, why would we desire to call down the power of fear and death upon our homes? If there is any chance that decorating for despair would invite doubt and dread to single out our home, why would we risk the possibility? If our struggle is indeed against “the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, (and) against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places,” would we not rather safeguard ourselves by the absence of webs, witches and headstones (Ephesians 6:12)? Is there any correlation between this and the high amount of funerals in October?
While living as a foreigner in Asia, I was especially drawn to any shops that had the outer appearance of American living. Any display window that showcased Western style and design drew me inside. Because I had grown up with an affinity to Southern Living, I wanted my home in Asia to look that way, too.
What if the spirit world is the same way? What if accessories of fear and death are attractive to “spiritual forces of wickedness”? What if they feel a magnetic power to the trappings of the darkness?
I understand so little about unseen, spiritual forces. I do know that this time of year especially showcases horror and fright. Reveal to me Your viewpoint of this season. Is it harmless or is there truly something about this glorification of death?
Irregardless, may I be a light in the darkness, in season and out (2 Timothy 4:2). Allow Your Love to flow so fully through me that You are able to cast out fear wherever I am (1 John 4:18). May satan fall from the heavenlies like lightening as I pray and trust in Your Word (Luke 10:18). Protect Your children and continue to be our Keeper (Isaiah 27:3). This work order is signed by the blood of Jesus and therefore holds the full authority of His Life, Amen.”