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Friday, October 28, 2011

HALLOWEEN IN HISTORY



Halloween is a time for pumpkins and popcorn; trick-or-treat and tooth decay.

But it began as a holy day.

We’re saints, you and I

A “saint” in Christianity refers to a believer. That’s so for all varieties of Christianity, whether you are Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant or something in between. A saint isn’t just those martyrs holding a title of Saint with a capital “S.”


All Christiansliving or dead—are saints. Not because we’re so good, but because we have been made holy through the blood of Christ. Sometimes in scripture this is translated as “holy people” or “God’s people.” But saints we are.
 

Christian history 101 

One of the first things the early Christian church did was to set aside November first as “All Saints Day.” Back in the fourth century, merely 300 years after Jesus, the Roman Catholic Church established this day to recognize martyrs who had died for their faith. November first ultimately became a time to praise God for His plan of salvation and to remember all of Christ’s saints (not just the ones with the capital “S”) who had died and returned home to Glory.


Whether you are a member of today’s Roman Catholic Church or not, the fact remains that Greece (home of Orthodox Christianity) and Rome (home of Roman Catholic Christianity) were the first two places where Paul and his gang took Christianity to the gentiles. It’s where Christianity took root and flourished. And amid all that flourishing, All Saints Day was founded—a holy day set aside by the Church for God’s glory.


But what’s Halloween? 

Christians celebrate the evening before Christmas as Christmas Eve. Similarly, early Christians celebrated the evening before All Saints Day, referring to it as All Hallows Eve. “Hallowed,” as we know from the Lord’s Prayer, means “holy.”  

This pre-All Saints Day observance gradually became known as “Hallows Eve” and eventually “Halloween.” The meaning? Holy Evening.


Today’s unholiness 

There is nothing holy about gangs of 4-foot tall aliens, fairy princesses and red-cloaked vampires roaming our neighborhoods with bulging bags of candy. And admittedly, the true evil one has a party every year as he encourages us to look to him for the glory, rather than to the true Master of the universe. 

But the fact that Satan uses a holy day for his purposes does not mean the day itself is evil. Does not the evil one use every day for his purposes? It is our responsibility as children of God to remember the holiness in everything—including and maybe even especially—days originally set aside by man for God’s glory. 

Christmas has become a commercialized season in the secular world. Should Christians therefore no longer celebrate the birth of our savior?  

Not on your eternal life!


Me and my house 

I will be spending this weekend in preparation for All Saints Day. I’ll be praying in gratitude for God’s plan and for including me and my loved ones in it. 

And if there’s any candy left in the bowl after the miniature ghouls and goblins have finished grabbing, then there’ll be one more thing to be thankful for. 

Holy Eve (Halloween) blessings to all.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, please remind us that all of your days are holy days. Please show us ways to thank you for your plan and to see your holiness in everything. Please protect us from the evil one during these and every day. Amen.


WHAT ABOUT YOU? Do you love or hate Halloween? What was your favorite costume from your childhood? Why?




8 comments:

Seth Caddell said...

Great post! I'm always afraid when Christians blog about Halloween, because I always hope they don't freak out and act like handing out candy is making a deal with Satan. Good history lesson, and good to hear other believers will be out there reflecting on spiritual things and handing out candy to kids.

Christine Henderson said...

Great follow up on the history of the season. It's good to remember how it all got started. Thanks for the refresher.

chris said...

I'm so glad that you wrote this Carol, very appropriate in spelling out the history of this often misunderstood event. Thanks!

From Carol's Quill said...

@ Seth, Christine and Chris - thanks to you all for the encouragement. Every day that God makes is holy regardless of what us humans do with it. :-)

M. L. Archer said...

Oh, I love it! Hey, I did mine on the original original origins of Halloween. But I liked your remarks about 'All Hallows Eve!'

From Carol's Quill said...

@ Merry - thanks. I enjoyed your post today, too. Left a comment.

Scott Fields said...

Brilliantly done, Carol. I had an encounter with a Christian co-worker yesterday who seemed paranoid and completely out-of-sorts all day, referring to it as the "devil's day." I explained that Satan has no power that we don't give him ourselves, and that by letting him stress her unnecessarily she was indeed allowing him too much influence. I doubt the message stuck, but it was worth trying.

Much like the secular reality of the day, we should realize that on Halloween, the bogey-men aren't real. The fear's in our mind. Thanks for the reminder, Carol. I hope more folks can grow to realize the same.

From Carol's Quill said...

@ Scott - good for you. I took the opportunity yesterday to wish folks a "Holy Evening aka Halloween." I imagine it went over a few heads. On the other hand, it was fun to explain.