Wednesday, October 31, 2007

What's the Deal with October 31?

Tonight I’ll be home with bags of candy so that I can answer the door bell dozens of times and hand out treats to children dressed up as pirates and princesses and a variety of other outfits.

Halloween was a simple and fun night for me when I was a child. In my costume and with my brother I’d race to as many houses as I could in the time allotment my mother gave me for “Trick or Treating” and haul in enough candy to last until Christmas. Today Halloween has become the second biggest commercialized “holiday” surpassed only by Christmas. The day has gone way past children roaming neighborhoods for candy to elaborate parties, sexy costumes and “devilish” entertainment.

And, within many Christian circles Halloween has taken on complicated and controversial dimensions. Some Christians choose not to participate in Halloween at all because of its roots in ancient Celtic practices and the occult. Others choose to seize and transform Halloween into a harvest festival or autumn party. Some are downright combative that they will not allow the “dark side” to rob them and future generations from simple childlike fun that they enjoyed years ago.

Few may be aware that October 31, 1517 was the day that the great reformation was launched with Martin Luther nailing his 95 theses to the door of the church in Wittenburg, Germany. Luther’s theses debated the Catholic practice of indulgences and that act eventually launched what would become the protestant church.

November 1 had historically been celebrated as All Saints Day where the church would have a variety of worshipful observances around the remembrance of the saints. All Saints Day, also known as All Hallows Day, would often begin on the night before or All Hallows Eve (thus Halloween) with worship that celebrated the Eucharist or Lord’s Supper.

Whatever the secular impression or observance of October 31, it is a significantly spiritual day, both of Light and darkness that should be addressed with godly discernment and wisdom.

1 comment:

Christina said...

I am glad that Christians of several denominations have stirred up the controversy regarding Halloween. It is a "big deal" !

When something of this nature causes people to rethink the purpose and meaning of a "holiday" or old "traditions" along side their religious convictions and faith, that is a good thing.

Peoples opinions will vary as widely as the candy given out that night. Some will argue scripture against it while others will make compromises, "Harvest Festival" while others will simply turn off the light in hopes that no one will ring their door bell.

Everyone is entitled to their own conclusion. I'm just glad we can talk about it. And if given the chance to voice my opinion on it, I passionately do so with a measure of kindness and good will.

Celebrating Halloween doesn't make you less of a Christian, and not celebrating it doesn't make you "scrooge".

If no one ever pointed out the "facts" or discussed it openly or suggested that I truly pray about the matter.... I would have gone on year after year without any thought about it...

Now, my heart will simply not let me celebrate a holiday I find offensive to my own beliefs even though I celebrated the tradition as a child. But I have friends that do, and they are still my friends.