When I first moved to Philadelphia, I did not live in a very safe or welcoming part of town. Some areas close by were great, but my immediate neighbors were wary of me and I them. We'd nodded in greeting at each other, but had never really spoken. But then came Halloween. I love Halloween and always have and that was the first year that I was a grown-up passing out candy and not a kid getting candy. I couldn't miss out on the opportunity to be on the other side of this holiday love I so much. So, even though I wasn't so sure about this neighborhood, I decided I couldn't let that stop me.
My next door neighbor was a big, tough looking guy. He was tall and muscular and often scowled. Of all my neighbors, he was one that I kept my guard up with the most. But then came Halloween. I'll never forget when I first saw him come out of the house. I thought I was hallucinating or maybe seeing big, red spots. He was in a full-body Elmo suit. Never has anything been more disarming. When he saw that I was also dressed up and handing out candy, he came over to talk with me. We exchanged names and compared and traded candy. We shared our love for Halloween and how great it was to see these cute kids and give them candy. I kept my guard down and said hello to him every time I saw him after that.
That's what I think people don't think about with Halloween: it's all about your neighborhood. You go out and actually walk your streets and go up to peoples' houses and talk to your neighbors. When else do you get that kind of opportunity? It's a chance to touch and see and be silly with the people Jesus calls us to love as ourselves.
|Last year I was a peg-legged pirate.|
|As promised, pictures from my Halloween party last week.|