Friday, October 19, 2018

Outdoor Object Lesson 76: Joy Not Fear

Key Text

“For God didn’t give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and self-control.”

2 Timothy 1:7 (WEB)


Pumpkins are almost synonymous with fall and especially Halloween. Have you ever wondered why we carve pumpkins for Halloween? Some can be pretty scary. Halloween is an old holiday that was originally celebrated by pagan people in the British islands. Those people believed that on Halloween or Samhain (pronounced ‘sow wan’) as it was called in Irish, spirits of the dead and evil spirits came to wander the earth. 

Out of fear, some people carved scary, ugly faces into gords, turnips, and other pumpkin like food. They put hot coals or candles inside to make them glow to be seen at night. They believed these ugly carvings could scare away evil spirits and protect them on Halloween.1 This is where we get the term jack-o’-lantern.2

In modern times people still carve pumpkins at Halloween. Most people don’t do it to scare away evil spirits. They may carve ugly faces in pumpkins to scare other people. As children of God we no longer need to fear evil spirits. Not at Halloween or any other time of year. Jesus came and defeated Satan and his evil spirits long ago. When we pray and ask for him to protect us he will. We also don’t need to be scared of what other people do (Romans 8:38-39). They may try to scare us with carved pumpkins or other decorations at Halloween. They may try to do other things to scare us too. But Paul said in the Key Text that God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of love. No matter what we face we can trust God instead and give him our fear. 

God’s love comes from the light of joy that Jesus places inside us when we accept him into our hearts. It can turn our fear into joy. This Halloween, let other people see what it looks like when you have God’s light inside. Carve a pumpkin with a happy, smiling face or perhaps a cross or message of joy on it. Put a candle inside and set it outside to let everyone know that you have joy instead of fear on Halloween and every other night.


What is your favorite Halloween candy?

Is Halloween a holiday Christians should celebrate? Does how we celebrate it matter?

What do we do if we ask Jesus to take our fear but still feel scared?

Did Jesus ever feel scared? Why or why not?

Written by David F. Garner

Photo Credit:


1. “HISTORY OF PUMPKIN CARVING AND HALLOWEEN (SAMHAIN).” (10/28/2017). Stair na hÉireann/History of Ireland online. Accessed October 19, 2018 from

2. “The History of 'Jack-O'-Lantern'.” (2018). Accessed October 19, 2018 from