Here is a tip that I sent out last year at this time.
Not everyone sees Halloween in the same way. Some see it as a harmless holiday where kids dress up and get lots of candy. Some lament that some homes and yards are decorated as much as they are at Christmas. Some do not observe Halloween in any way and take their families to a movie or church event so as not to be around when trick or treaters come by. But Michael Frey, Western PA Catalytic, has seen Halloween as another way to share his faith. Here are some of his thoughts on the subject.
When you think of Halloween, what comes to mind?
Most of us would conjure up images of ghosts, witches, evil spirits, and way too much candy. As Christians, we can also answer the question with words like: evil, satanic, and the devil’s holiday.
But what if I told you that Halloween is actually a Christian event? That it is just as Christian as Christmas and Easter. (WAIT! Before you stop reading this and begin to organize a prayer meeting for my salvation, I ask that you hear me out.)
I have made the comment to many Christians in the past few years that Halloween is a Christian holiday, and have gotten everything from laughs to contorted looks of disbelief. However, I believe it’s not a joke, and it could be a tremendous asset if we, as believers, could change our thinking on the subject.
The original roots of the holiday are found in Celtic harvest celebrations, and the beginning of their new year. It was also a celebration to honor Samhain, Lord of the Dead. During this festival, Celts believed the souls of the dead came back to visit with their living relatives. Large bon fires were lit to scare off these spirits and people wore masks to hide from their dead relatives. (and you thought getting your cheeks pinched by Aunt Ruth at the family reunion was bad)
When Rome conquered Ireland, and the Celts were exposed to Christianity, the converts still held on to these ancient practices. In 835 AD Pope Gregory IV moved the celebration honoring Christians who have died (All Saints Day) from it’s original date of May 13, to Nov. 1st. All Saints Day was a time to remember those who have died, and celebrate the fact that we will see them again in heaven. The night before became known as All Hallow’s Even or “holy evening.”
Eventually the name was shortened to the current Halloween.
In the same way, Christmas and Easter were adapted from their original pagan roots to be celebrations of Jesus birth, death, and resurrection. I’m not sure how we, as Christians, lost Halloween, but I think we should reclaim it.
As I see it, Halloween is the only time of the year that all my neighbors come to my house, uninvited. It’s the only season in our culture when people are talking about ghosts, spirits, and the after-life. To me it only makes sense that we take advantage of this opportunity and ask those around us what they think happens when we die. It’s a question we all struggle with, and we know the answer!
Spiritual battle is real 365 days of the year, not just on Halloween night. Let’s not cede the day, but take it back. Halloween is a Christian holiday, and could be a great opportunity for us to be light in a dark world.
We may not all see it quite the same way Michael does. But I think that we can all agree that, as Christians, we do have the hope of eternal life, we are looking for ways to share Christ with our neighbors and that asking what happens when we die is a question everyone wrestles with. Michael has given a lot of thought to this over the years. He has written an evangelistic article, formatted the Four Spiritual Laws with a Halloween theme and developed a Halloween survey, all of which are found on the GodSquad. We have this week to use this particular opportunity “to be light in a dark world.”