She had twenty small children sitting on the floor in front of her. They listened intently as she spoke about Halloween.

Here is my recollection of the lovely children’s talk in church yesterday morning.  

I wnat you to look carefully into each others’ eyes. Look in the very middle. Do you see the dark circle at the centre called the pupil?

Now cover your eyes with your hands. Keep your eyes open behind your hands but block out the light. Now uncover your eyes again and look into the eyes of the person beside you. Do you notice that the pupil has grown bigger?

In the Bible we have stories about people who go into dark places. We usually think of dark places as being scary places that we want to stay away from.

But Halloween is that time of year when we get to go “Boo” to all the dark scary things in our lives.

I think there are good things about the dark. Even if we feel like we can’t see God in the dark, God still sees us. God’s eyes are SO big, they can open SO wide, that God can see in the dark. So even the dark is light to God.

When it is just light all the time, we might not see the light. But when it gets dark, we can see the light more brightly.

(Then the speaker takes a shawl and draps it over the carved pumpkin beside her with an artificial light inside. She holds up one end of the shawl; the children peer inside. Sure enough, with the shawl darkening the area around the pumpkin, the carved face shines more brightly)

You see, Halloween tells us that the dark helps our eyes open and can help us to see God.

(thanks Jaqueline; sorry I can’t do it with the lovely Aussie accent)

What a powerful and positive use of Halloween. You don’t have to curse the dark. You don’t have to run scared from things that go bump in the night. We all encounter darkness in our lives; the Gospel says that these dark places can serve to help us see more clearly the reality of Love that shines in all of life and can never be extinguished.

I sat there during this talk looking at all those little trusting faces thinking, even if this stuff were not true, it is a powerful and positive message to give to children. They are here together in a place that feels safe, where they are deeply respected and honoured, not for anything they do, or anything they have accomplished, but simply because they are created by God and bear the light of love in their lives.

This is a place where children can experience the reality that there is something bigger at the centre of their lives than anything they might ever fear. This is a place where they can come to see more clearly.

There is nothing in Halloween to fear. We can use everything that happens out there in the world as a sign pointing to the beauty and truth of God’s presence and action in our lives.

We do not need to feel defeated by those forces that seem to be working against the light and beauty in life.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. (John 1:5)

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38, 39)

As you go out into the dark on Wednesday evening, or as you open your front door to little faces standing in the dark, see how brightly shines the light within. Trust in the goodness and truth that is your true nature. Rejoice in the power of love to overcome all obstacles. Know that you are eternally held by the Goodness that created all life and Whose light can never be extinguished.