I’ve spoken before of my fondness for Halloween. It’s a Christian holiday at its core – connected to All Saints’ Day when we remember our sisters and brothers who have passed beyond the veil before us. I will be speaking about that subject more this Sunday. But for this article, since we’re all friends here, I thought it might be fun to consider the more commonplace tradition of Halloween – disguise. My girls were talking excitedly about their costumes yesterday, who they want to be for Halloween. That’s what I like about kids: they don’t dress like someone for Halloween, they are. Heroes, idealized persons, the powerful, the frightening. They become something for a night, trying it on.
There was an old wives’ tale when I was a kid. “If you keep making that face, it will stick that way forever.” At Halloween, I would wonder if the masks that we wore might stick forever. The warning hints around the edges at something true though: be careful what you pretend, because it may become who you are.
There are two schools of thought here. Either we are who we are and people are more or less locked into their true selves at some point, or we can change. I tend to believe the second, I have to. I believe that we can become something different than we were before, that we can become something new or different or better. For me, that’s part and parcel to the Gospel itself.
So with all of the costumes, the disguises, the masks that we will put on for this fun holiday, it has me thinking if that old wives’ tale is actually a warning. Maybe it’s a message of hope. What if we put on the mask of the peacemaker? What if we dressed up like selfless servant? What if we were to go head-to-toe in a prophet’s get-up? And what if we just left it there? What if we put on Christ in the morning and intentionally forgot to take it off? Would it stick that way forever?
I hope so.