My daughter Eva and I went out trick-or-treating on Halloween. Eva is 3 years old, so she was excited to go trick-or-treating to say the least. So around 6 o’clock we got her dressed up in her costume (little purple witch, she was adorable!) and she and I started down our street.
Now our street comes to a dead end about one block from our house in one direction, and in the other direction it goes about four more blocks before T-ing off at another street. I figured five blocks was going to be about right for Eva’s little legs, so we headed down the street in the direction of the dead end.
Eva loved trick-or-treating. She loved knocking on doors. She loved saying “Trick or Treat!” She even said, “Thank You!” unprompted at least twice. She was having a grand time.
We got to the dead end and turned around and headed up the side of the street opposite our house. I figured we’d pass by our house and keep going until Eva tired out. But as we got about two houses away from ours Eva shouts, “Daddy! There’s our house!” And starts running home.
I couldn’t stop her. She ran across the street – thankfully no cars were out at that time. She ran up the drive. She waited for me to open the door, and in she went. Her little pumpkin-bag was maybe one-third full of candy, but she was done trick-or-treating. She was home.
My wife looked at me, her face accusing me of keeping our little girl from knowing the full wonders of Halloween night. I held up my hands, “She wanted to come home. I didn’t do or say anything! I wanted to keep going!”
Eva then saw the other pumpkin-bag of candy – the candy we were handing out to trick-or-treaters that night who came to our door. So for the next hour or so she handed out candy, and she was good at it! She didn’t try to take any candy for herself or eat it while no one was looking. She sat on the couch, watched a movie, got up when she heard a knock on the door, went with daddy to answer the door, and gave each costumed person two or three pieces of candy. And she loved it.
My wife and I pondered this later in the evening. We remembered times when we would plan our routes through neighborhoods so we could get the most candy. Yet Eva wanted to go, get just enough candy for her, and then come home. As she gets older she’ll probably want more candy and realize that she can stay out longer to get it. But for now she values getting enough and then going home with Mom and Dad, and she loves handing candy out to others.
There are times when we become so enamored with claiming and getting that we forget that there is goodness and joy in going home and giving to others. There is a time when we have enough, so we can rest and even give what we have away so that others might have enough. It may look strange to outsiders – it certainly felt strange for me to watch my child voluntarily end trick-or-treating early to go home. But intentionally resting in God’s grace and giving of ourselves and our resources can be a wonderful thing indeed.