Typing this in a living room lit only by glowing pumpkins and flickering candles, I only have to glance over my laptop screen to see my worn copy of Night of the Living Dead Christian by Matt Mikalatos sitting on the coffee table in front of me.
It’s a timely read. As the weather has chilled and the nights have become progressively spookier, we have reached the culmination of the creepy season: All Hallow’s Eve, the night of Halloween anticipation.
This season could make the most pragmatic among us hug themselves a little tighter, check over their shoulder, walk a little faster. Even the stoic thinks of monsters lurking around the corner. But, as Mikalatos eloquently suggests, maybe it’s not the season around us that makes us imagine monsters.
Maybe it’s us ourselves.
I don’t ask, “Are you a monster?”
I ask, “What monster are you?”
At our most basic state, we are monsters. After all, what are monsters but cheapened attempts at actual life? Zombies try to imitate a healthy life. Werewolves try to find a greater life by fulfilling all the deepest, primal desires of the life they already hold. Vampires try to take whatever life they find in order to feel alive themselves.
We are monsters, all of us. The walking dead, groping in the darkness for life. We celebrate Halloween, putting on masks to imitate the grotesque (as if we needed them).
Humanity is a horror movie, full of death and darkness. Yet, oddly enough, it was only by a death that any actual light was able to break through. A bloodsoaked cross, and all cheap imitations of life met the actual thing for the very first time.
The death and resurrection of Jesus is the only thing that puts the monsters to death and allows humans to live.
In the Gospel of John, trying to depict the weight of what Jesus’ coming meant for a planet full of monsters, John wrote, “In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:4-5)
This world is dark and full of monsters. Halloween may fall on October 31st, but its spirit lives on everyday. The only person that can make a monster fully human, a dead person fully alive, is Jesus Christ.
Run toward his light. Run toward his life.
Halloween may be tomorrow, but the kingdom of God goes on and on forever. Lay down the monster and pick up your cross. Walk hand in hand with the Light of the world, and you’ll experience life for the very first time.