It was 4 AM and I hadn’t slept all night. I was trying to lie on hospital benches with ill-placed arm rests, and finding them wedged in uncomfortable places.
My brother John-Peter’s first child had just been born and while everyone else had left, I wanted to stay to celebrate the birth of a son with a cigar for his father. John-Peter was busy doing something unimportant to the story, like taking care of his wife who just gave a birth with no epidural (because she could), and I was waiting.
I was on my iPad browsing documentaries on Netflix and came across one about an alcoholic drink I had previously never heard of. I don’t know why I clicked on it, but I wanted to watch something I wouldn’t care about. This is how I discovered the story of absinthe.
Absinthe is a green drink associated with artists. Poets, writers, and painters once loved absinthe. Absinthe has a high proof but is watered down significantly and drunk with a cube of sugar. It was widely popular until it was banned in many countries in the early 1900’s. The ban held for almost a hundred years — until the 1990’s.
Is it more dangerous than other drinks? Nope. Absinthe is the victim of negative correlation.
Tragically, some people, after drinking absinthe, killed their families and then themselves. Absinthe was blamed, and frightened people looking for devils went on the attack.
One critic said, “Absinthe makes you crazy and criminal, provokes epilepsy and tuberculosis, and has killed thousands of French people. It makes a ferocious beast of man, a martyr of woman, and a degenerate of the infant. It disorganizes and ruins the family and menaces the future of the country.”
What was overlooked at the time was the other alcohol and drugs people who committed the murders were also on. The man most to blame for the ban on absinthe consumed seven glasses of wine, six glasses of cognac, one coffee laced with brandy, two crème de menthes, and two ounces of Absinthe. Eventually, it was said when you drink absinthe you could be victim of the green fairy, who could control you and drive you crazy. Right it was the green fairy, not the crazy amount of alcohol in his system.
Giving fear a place.
Don’t misunderstand me, there are dark and scary things in life we should be wary of. Demons do exist, evil exists, and drinking 18 glasses of any type of alcohol is a bad idea, but evil doesn’t own anything.
Think about it. If all evil can do is twist good, it cannot claim ownership of anything. God made the night, as well as the day. Night isn’t evil.
God made bats and they aren’t more vicious than lions, which we have outside our churches, yet many think of bats as evil. Bats aren’t evil because they love the darkness, or because they aren’t the cutest little things with wings.
I remember hearing from the pulpit talk condemning Halloween in the same tone as the critic of absinthe. Knock on your neighbors door, and you might as well be knocking on the gates of hell! It will make you into a minion of the devil!
But did God not make this day like He made all the others?
Halloween, under its dress, is the most Christian holiday.
We hate it because of the way it is dressed like a group of rich middle school girls. We hate it because it is dark and creepy and yes, like on any other day, people do evil things.
Do you really think people sin less on Christmas Day than Halloween night?
We, as humans, will use any excuse to sin. Christmas has become a morning of materialism more than a remembrance of Christ, but we don’t reject it. We celebrate the good. We reclaim it for God, and praise the Lord! We should.
Now let’s look at Halloween with the same eyes.
Little children walk up to your door and say hello to strangers. Neighbors open their doors and give away candy…for free! It’s one of the only times I can think of in today’s society when people give things away to strangers and ask nothing in return.
If that isn’t loving your neighbor, I don’t know what is.
Yet we darken our doors, because it looks devilish to us. If there are little green fairies or little devils prowling around at night, isn’t that more reason we should be out there?
We are the light of the world. Darkness does not overcome light, but light darkness.
Don’t be afraid.
Almost every encounter with the supernatural in the Bible begins, “Do not be afraid.” God created the world, He rules, and greater is what we have within us than whatever is out in the darkness.
Where is your faith?
There is enough evil in the world. We certainly don’t have to invent more. You have to do what you feel is right. If you feel one day is holy and one night, evil, then stay indoors, by all means. But I pray that your faith grows.
That you open yourself up to more of God’s world and reclaim what has been made dark.
Don’t be scared by what simply appears evil — some of the lightest people I know dress in dark. Some of the most beautiful moments, like the birth of my nephew, happen in the darkest of night. The times that are scariest, and beyond our understanding, are the times we should most trust in God.
So, put down your pitchforks!
Don’t go hunting after devils, but hunt after the good. Hunt after God in all things. Because He can make all things new.
Absinthe is just a drink. Halloween just a day.
And everything God has created — an opportunity to love God and our neighbor.
What things have looked negative or bad but turned out to be good in your life?