Monday, October 31, 2005

Happy Halloween!

Don't know what your plans are for Halloween this year but you may hear from some folks how terrible Halloween is and how evil. I want to take a minute to step back and take a look at that.

Halloween is a contraction of a three word phrase "All Hallows Even(ing)". In other words the night before All Hallows day. All Hallows can be "translated" to All Saints. So this is the night before the day when we remember all the saints that have lived before us. Doesn't sound so bad does it? All saints day is a Christian holiday that goes back many centuries. Like many of the days on the Christian calendar it doesn't get the attention that it should. But more on that in a second.

So what's the flap about? Well part of it has to do with the date chosen. Several dates on the Christian calendar were chosen to fight against pagan customs. In Halloween's case it was a festival of the dead called Samhain in the British Isles. Christians took the pagan holiday and "baptized" it. (We did the same thing with the date for Christmas which overlaps an old Roman pagan holiday. This is also why the Easter Bunny exists and why we have evergreens like a christmas tree at Christmas time) We "tame" the bad things (vampires and ghouls)by making them silly. The tradition of giving food to keep them from misbehaving is now candy and "Trick or Treat".

So is all this "stuff" about the supernatural just silly and to be ignored? No. As Christians we believe in the supernatural and recognize that it has its dangers. So does everyday life in this world. While I personally think things like the Tarot and Ouija are frauds I recognize that they can be used to bring great evil into people's lives. I also recognize that the powers of evil have used even the Bible to bring great evil into people's live as well. The difference is that the Bible is a much greater source of light and life and good, while Ouija and Tarot (and the like) are just pointless and silly.

So go out and enjoy yourself this Halloween. But remember two things:

Take your faith out with you. It'll keep you out of trouble (just like every other day) Halloween isn't a vacation from living a life in faith.

And tomorrow, take a few minutes to remember a saint. Can't think of any? Then take an extra moment and look one up. Some wonderful people have walked this path before us. We should take a few moments once a year to remember them and learn from them.


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