This year marks the first time in over 23 years that we will not be handing out candy for Halloween. In the past we would hand out a bag of candy with a Christian tract in the bag. This year Jim and I will be helping with a fall festival sponsored by Abide in North Omaha. Caleb is off at college as he has been for the past several years. Christian will be at a friend’s house.
When our children were younger we struggled with how to celebrate a holiday that glamorizes demons, devils, ghosts, and ghouls. What we finally settled on was making Halloween a witness to our neighborhood. Some Christians embrace Halloween as harmless fun. Others ignore Halloween altogether. Still others celebrate fall.
May I suggest another reason to celebrate the evening and the day that follows? The name Halloween is a shortened version of another name for the night: All Hallows Evening or All Saints Evening. November 1 on the Christian calendar is All Saints Day. In Lutheran theology, saints are those individuals who have faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. All Saints Day commemorates the saints who have died before us.
I am reminded of Hebrews 12:1-2: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”
As we remember All Saints Eve and All Saints Day we are reminded of those who have gone before us in the faith and who have obtained the crown of life. This encourages me to stand firm in my faith until I reach my heavenly home and become part of the cloud of witnesses.
What are you doing this Halloween? Taking your wee ones trick-or-treating? Handing out candy at your door? Attending a Halloween party? May I suggest you also take a moment to celebrate All Hallows Evening and All Saints Day? Ponder the blessings of knowing about those who have gone before us. Rejoice in those who persevered to the end. Praise God for His Holy Spirit who keeps the faithful in his fold until the end. Ask that same Spirit to keep you faithful until you go home to heaven. I know I will be doing the same today and tomorrow.