Red Letters

It’s that time of year again – the second most popular holiday behind Christmas. There are many names given for this season: “Halloween,” “All Saints Day,” “The Devils Day,” “Hallelujah Night,” and “Fall Festival.” The origins of this go back to at least the fourth century. It was quite popular in pre-Christian Ireland and Scotland. The Celtic year ended on October 31, the eve of Samhain,
and was celebrated with both religious and harvest rites. For the
Druids, Samhain was both the “end of summer” and a
festival of the dead. When St. Patrick brought Christianity to Ireland, he had a way of
accommodating certain pagan customs, which the people incorporated into
Christian beliefs. It’s interesting that he brought Christianity to these beliefs.

Halloween is also a sort of marker in the calendar, a turning
point in our year, when the fallen leaves and passing of a season are swept away by the pre-winds of winter and we brace
ourselves for the uncertainties of a dreary dark winter. I’m reminded of this as I listen to Sting’s album, “If On a Winter’s night.”  

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If Halloween is not for you, lighten your spirit! Thanksgiving and Christmas are right around the corner. If this season tells us anything, it speaks to the need we all have for celebrations that brighten the dark times. 

There are many opinions by Christians about this particular holiday. How should Christians celebrate Halloween? Should they celebrate it as is, alternatively, or ignore it all together? 

Is it right to hand out candy if your own children are not allowed to
go trick or treating?  Do you allow your child to dress up at school
only or to participate in the “fall festival”?

Romans 14:5-9 has something to say on this issue:

What’s important in all this is that if you keep a holy day, keep it for God’s sake; if you eat meat, eat it to the glory of God and thank God for prime rib; if you’re a vegetarian, eat vegetables to the glory of God and thank God for broccoli. None of us are permitted to insist on our own way in these matters. It’s God we are answerable to–all the way from life to death and everything in between–not each other. That’s why Jesus lived and died and then lived again: so that he could be our Master across the entire range of life and death, and free us from the petty tyrannies of each other.”

I know I’m throwing a bit of a wrench into this but some things really aren’t black and white as we’d like them to be. What I
choose to do may be completely opposite from what you choose to do. So
the answer to the question about how should Christians handle Halloween
is between you and God. You may feel right before God about
the choice you make.  However if there is any doubt then it
should be reconsidered. 

I’m curious, how are you choosing to celebrate Halloween this year? 

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