Halloween is almost here and every year it gets bigger, much to the dismay of many Christians...
Halloween is almost here and every year it gets bigger, much to the dismay of many Christians and especially pastors. There are many who have tried to either ignore the day or preach against the evil it represents, but I fear that ship has sailed for most of America. Love it or hate it, Halloween is here to stay. We can fence ourselves in or embrace Halloween, but I would suggest that we reclaim it as part of our Christian calendar.
Halloween exists because of Christianity. That is not to say that Samhain, the most likely predecessor of Halloween, did not exist before the 8th Century creation of All Saints’ Day, but I believe that without the church trying to take over a pagan holiday, it would have just died out. None of the other Druid festivals have survived today except for All Hallows’ Eve and All Saints’ Day. According to History.com, “Samhain is a pagan religious festival originating from an ancient Celtic spiritual tradition. In modern times, Samhain (a Gaelic word pronounced “SAH-win”) is usually celebrated from Oct. 31 to Nov. 1 to welcome in the harvest and usher in “the dark half of the year.”
Celebrants believe that the barriers between the physical world and the spirit world break down during Samhain, allowing more interaction between humans and denizens of the Otherworld.” Back in the day, I think the church took the attitude, "if you can’t beat‘em, join’em." Pagans had this holiday and they weren’t stopping so the church created a holy day which overlaid the pagan day and everyone went on. Today, All Saints’ Day is virtually forgotten and not observed in most churches.
Halloween is mostly positive to me. Kids (and adults) dress up and have fun. Kids get candy by the sacksful and more goes to waste than to the waist. In general, I don’t believe there is a lot of pagan worship going on. So why don’t we remind people that there is a positive side of the day, a time to honor those who have gone before us, a time to give thanks for lives well lived. The church once tried to take over a pagan holiday and kept it alive. Can we lift up a holy day and reclaim a holiday? I think it is worth a try.