Tag Archives: Fall Festival

trick or treat


One of my favorite events in the life of our church here in Odessa took place last night. For one night each year we roll out the red, or should I say orange, carpet in a big way. Our annual Fall Festival is awesome! We have about 50 or so volunteers rally to host over 500 people each year. There’s food trucks, inflatables, face-painting, carnival games, pop-corn, music and costumes…so many cool costumes. I love seeing all of the kids, and “adult kids”, coming to our church in their costumes for a night of fun and festivities. In fact, it seems that more and more each year people are really getting into the Halloween spirit. And yet, sometimes we in the church struggle with what to do with this holiday full of spooks and ghosts and ghouls.

I guess we could start by taking a look at our own history, after all, Halloween began as part of Allhallowtide, a Christian feast holiday. According to HistoryChannel.com, “In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as a time to honor all saints; All Saints Day…The evening before was known as All Hallows Eve, and later Halloween.” Halloween was originally part of a Religious feast intended to honor those who have gone before us. And yet so often we see all of the hullabaloo of Halloween today feeling like something different from it’s Christian roots and often become something else entirely. Even as I am writing this I am thinking about all of those who feel like Halloween is a dark holiday to be avoided at all costs…and I respect your opinion, but think with me for a moment. Try putting yourself in the place of one of the kids who got be at our Fall Festival last night or who looks forward to Trick-or-Treating this coming week. You’re telling me that for a day I get to dress up like someone else, go around to my neighbor’s houses and they give me candy? It’s almost kind of magical. And who doesn’t love another excuse to eat candy?

I have always looked at scripture a little differently and I hope you will amuse me here. To me, one of the saddest verses in all of scripture is found in I Corinthians 13:11 “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.” So often we think of this as the natural maturation process, but what if it is talking about the loss of the natural wonder and love that comes with childhood? I think all to often we are ready to grow up and we miss the joy and simplicity of living that can be seen through the eyes of a child. Maybe if we began to see this holiday again through the eyes of a child and all the joy I saw last night we might be able to see it a little differently. Maybe the treat is found through the trick of seeing Halloween as a child. And maybe holidays like Halloween can be enjoyed in a new light as we seek to reclaim the world yet again through childlike wonder and joy.





There is something magical about this time of year. There is the changing of seasons yes, but that usually just gives me bronchitis. That being said though, there is this amazing cultural phenomenon that seems to take place all over this country right around Halloween. The football games are bigger, the celebration of trick-or-treating is anticipated in child-like fashion and it seems like people just want to get out and be together. It’s almost like we know the winter is upon us so we should cling to these final moments when we can get out and enjoy each others company before our long winter naps. Of course this latter statement is more true for parts some parts of the country versus others.

Last night was one of those wonderful moments for the people of Odessa First and myself. Our church hosted a fall festival and what made it so amazing was the synergy. Synergy is one of those fun buzzwords, but it was actually perfect for this event. Synergy is defined as “the interaction of elements that when combined produce a total effect that is greater than the sum of the individual elements, contributions”. And that’s what this was. Of course we had the season of year to lean on. We had inflatables and carnival games. We had volunteers galore. We even had a local food truck stop by (Let this be an official endorsement for The Pink Pig). But when all of these pieces came together…whoa! The feeling of community and the enjoyment just flowed out of all the pieces that came together.

One of the longest books in the Bible is the book of Psalms. But one of the shortest Psalms contained within is Psalm 133 “How wonderful, how beautiful, when brothers and sisters get along! It’s like costly anointing oil flowing down head and beard, Flowing down Aaron’s beard, flowing down the collar of his priestly robes. It’s like the dew on Mount Hermon flowing down the slopes of Zion. Yes, that’s where God commands the blessing, ordains eternal life.” – Psalm 133 When there is true community it is a sign of God’s blessing. Actually it is a sign of His highest blessing; the blessing for a priest. The blessing of life giving dew from God’s Holy city. And so I think about last night and what it means. When we come together as a church…even bigger, when we come together as a community, there God’s blessing abides. The smiles, the laughter, the joy, these are all signs of God’s blessing in our midst as we live out the call to community. The call to synergy. So may you embrace this season. May you find yourself at a festival, a football game or even on your doorstep for trick-or-treaters inviting community and seeing God’s blessing in your midst.

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