Skip to main content

Holy Halloween?

The big ugly debate is upon us.

No, not the Presidential one. This debate involves dwarves and banshees of quite another variety.

As heated as the political scene may now be, it will pale to fervor with which Christians will begin debating if and how they will celebrate what is now commonly called "Halloween". This battle of ideas will be waged from the beaches of church pews to the hills of Facebook. There will be shots fired and people unfriended.

But what cyber surfing culture warrior would be complete without some historical trivia and theological sanity? Here you go...

The Background Story

The devil would love to steal All Hallow’s Eve (Halloween) away from Christians. He is making good progress at it too.

All Hallow’s Eve is neither American nor pagan in heritage. The name should be obvious enough. Hallow means ‘holy’ (‘Hallowed be thy name’) and it marks a three-day celebration of the victory of Jesus over the powers of darkness as experienced by departed saints and Christian martyrs - with November 1st being All Saints Day. These type of celebrations have happened since the 300’s AD and the date became formalised on the Church calendar in 835 AD by Pope Gregory.

Traditionally, this holy day was a time to remember Christ’s victory over darkness and to remember that we still have to battle against evil. As St. Paul writes in Ephesians 6, 

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

How have Christians historically celebrated this? By joyful mockery. Satan has lost his final victory, is a defeated foe and nothing pushes back his minions like Christian joy. It is from this tradition that people draw silly pictures of the devil and let their kids dress up as ghosts to show that he can no longer dominate the redeemed people of God - we no longer need to be afraid. Historically, Christians would even burn the costumes afterwards.

Now I confess, there has been a historic debate about this day. Catholics and Protestants have argued over how highly departed Christians should be viewed - with Catholics over-venerating past Saints. But both groups still see the main point being Christ's victory with his people over evil.

Halloween is also a historic occasion for friendship. Though sweets (candy) is abundant and cheap today, in previous centuries, giving these small gifts to children was more costly and an act of true Christian generosity.

Christmas and Easter

Christians are a redeemed people and as such we have a cheeky tendency to alchemise the culture around us. We make once wicked things into trophies for our God. We did this with Christmas and Easter. Those holidays have pagan roots – but we’re stolen the whole thing and redirected it to honour Jesus. No longer is Saturnalias worshipped mid–winter, now we sing the praises of Christ through carols.

But now pagans and the commercial industry is trying are trying to get revenge for Christmas and Easter by hijacking our All Hallow’s Eve – a holiday that started out Christian. They try to claim associations with ancient Celtic Harvest days. They want to change it into a day of celebrating the powers of darkness over the powers of light. Unfortunately, some Christians are unaware of their own roots and have let the pagans think for them - buying into this propaganda.

Letting let the pagans and mainstream commercial society have our day show's a certain type of cowardly insanity. We Christians are retreating from a holiday that was once wholly ours. Let's reclaim the victorious and hospitable traditions of the past and teach the children around us that through Christ's death and resurrection, we no longer need to be afraid.

Let’s celebrate All Hallow’s Eve big this year. The sweets you give your neighbourhood children should be far more generous and grad than those given to them by your unbelieving neighbours!

Let’s celebrate Christ's victory with style - until he returns for all his Hallows.
___________________
[Please Share]

bkNeed help with a male-female friendship? Check out Forbidden Friendships - available on Amazon in Paperback and Kindle in the USA and the UK.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Where I Turn Down a Gay 'Wedding' Invitation

Dear Katie,
I hope this letter finds you well. You’ve been on my mind lately as it’s been a few weeks since we’ve met up. We’re overdue to grab a coffee – I hope we can soon. I also want to thank you for thinking of me as you sent out invitations for what I know will be a big day for you and Joanna. I’ve known you since before you met her (two years ago now, is it?) and I appreciate all you’ve shared with me about how meaningful that relationship is to you. It was especially kind of you given my Christian faith. You've never directly asked me my views on gender or sex in much detail. But I think our conversations must have touched on it enough times to at least make you a bit unsure of my reaction when you sent the invitation. I have to say 'no' to your kind invitation. You know that I care for you and that I value our friendship. You know I don't reject you because you are gay. So, would it be too much to ask of you if I explain why my faith would make attendance at your…

Dear Pro-Gay Christian Friend

[Response to the letter Dear Non-Affirming Christian]
Dear Pro-Gay Christian Friend,
Thank you for taking the time to write me. Sadly, it seems you misunderstand why I met with you for coffee. Please let me explain my motives by defining the words in my salutation above. Would this be too terrible a way to go about it?
Let’s start with ‘friend’ shall we? You rightly question this term as an accurate description of our relationship. For now, let's simply say I mean it as an expression of good will - but will return to it again at the end of the letter. Then there's this term, 'pro-gay'. By this, I don't mean your personal sexual urges. There have historically been – and are today – countless godly leaders in the church who have deep sexual and romantic attractions to people of the same gender. In spite of their desires, they remain celibate and teach orthodox views of gender and sexuality. In your letter, you repeatedly refer to me as a ‘non-affirming Christian’, but I …