“All Hallows' Eve"

“Here is the perseverance of the saints who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.  And I heard a voice from heaven, saying,” “Write, ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the LORD from now on!’ Yes, says the Spirit, so that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow with them.”  Revelation 14:12-13

You can ask any of my kids and they all will tell you I’m a “scrooge” when comes to Halloween.  I am NOT a big Halloween fan.  I know, I know, I’ve been told, “It’s just a lot of fun for the kids, no harm done.”  Well, let’s wait for some of the reports that come out this coming Saturday morning around the nation and see how harmless it is.  Not all do, but many take it too far.  Last year when a teenager was arrested for damaging someone’s property he said, “Come on.  Get over it.  It’s just halloween.”  I am sure we will take my younger kids trick or treating, but I’ll being doing it under protest.

I would love to see us celebrate the original holiday which is “All Hallow’s Eve.”  I recently read this article by the BBC on the history of All Hallows' Eve.

“All Hallows' Eve falls on 31st October each year, and is the day before All Hallows' Day, also known as All Saints' Day in the Christian calendar. The Church traditionally held a vigil on All Hallows' Eve when worshippers would prepare themselves with prayers and fasting prior to the feast day itself.

The name derives from the Old English 'hallowed' meaning holy or sanctified and is now usually contracted to the more familiar word Hallowe'en.

A brief history of the festival: In the early 7th century Pope Boniface IV consecrated the Pantheon in Rome, formerly a temple to all the gods, as a church dedicated to Saint Mary and the Martyrs, and ordered that that date, 13th May, should be celebrated every year.

It became All Saints' Day, a day to honour all the saints, and later, at the behest of Pope Urban IV (d. 1264), a day specially to honour those saints who didn't have a festival day of their own.

In the 8th century, on 1st November, Pope Gregory III dedicated a chapel to all the saints in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. Gregory IV then made the festival universal throughout the Church, and 1st November has subsequently become All Saints' Day for the western Church.  It is widely believed that many Hallowe'en traditions have evolved from an ancient Celtic festival called Samhain which was Christianized by the early Church.” (Article from the BBC)

In the West, certainly Halloween has progressed into many things.  From simple trick or treating for kids to more evil practices such as devil worship, seances, blood sacrifices, destruction of personal property, etc.  You have to affirm also, it has become a huge retail holiday for businesses to capitalize on. 

John wrote in Revelation 14 “Here is the perseverance of the saints who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.”  He says they are blessed who die in the LORD, full of the Spirit, resting from their labors.  I know many churches have “All Saints Sunday” when they light a candle and remember those who have died in the past year, but we could do more by teaching our children the true meaning of this special day.  Let them have their fun of dress-up and getting candy, but let’s tell them how it all started.  It was to celebrate the lives of the Martyrs, those who died faithful to the LORD.  It was to remember Aunt Sally or Grandpa Jim who made a difference in their world for God.  It is a time to SHARE stories of the faith, the “hallowed,” who have gone before us.  Think about it.  Maybe adding a new tradition running along side the old one would be a good thing!   

I’ll probably still be call the scrooge of Halloween this year by my kids, but that’s OK.  

I hope you all have a blessed and fun filled “All Hallows' Eve” on Friday night.


Pastor Marty

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