We celebrate Halloween on Oct. 31. We should be celebrating All Saints Day on Nov. 1. We're observing the wrong holiday!
In days gone by, Christians celebrated All Saints Day on Nov. 1. It was a day to remember all those "saints" of God who had died in the faith. November 1 was a sacred and holy day. Christians and pagans alike believed that on the night before All Saints Day, evil spirits roamed the world seeking to tempt and destroy the "saints." The church leaders, therefore, declared that the evening preceding All Saints Day be a holy evening; a hallowed e'en, Halloween. On this hallowed eve, Christians put on masks and went out into the night to scare off the evil spirits.
HALLOWEEN is a reminder that we are all sinners! We put on masks to hide our evil thoughts and deeds from the people around us. We pretend to be something we're not. Halloween highlights our dark side -- demons and devils, ghosts and ghouls, fright and fear. Halloween encourages our selfish side -- we go trick-or-treating in order to get all the goodies we can.
ALL SAINTS DAY, on the other hand, is a time to remember those saints of God who lived out their lives, who died, and who have been awarded the Crown of Life. Saints who heard God's call to worship and service. People who were faithful to that calling. Saints who endured the worst the world could throw at them, who triumphed over adversity in order to make this world a better place for everyone.
ALL SAINTS DAY is a reminder that we are all called to be "saints."
Saints are people who have received a new name. When a baby is presented for Christian baptism, we say that the baby is being Christ-ened. We are not like other people. We are now Christ's people, Christ-ians. We have a name to be proud of, a name to live up to. Saints are people who are headed in a new direction. We have all traveled the road that leads away from God, away from life. We've lived in towns like Self Town, Greedy, Pride Full, Hate, Jealousy, Lustful, and Lazy Ness. We've walked the way that leads to hell. Christ comes and warns us of the danger of staying on this road. He warns us to repent, to turn around, to turn back. Saints are people who believe what Christ has to say, who do turn around, and who do head back toward God. Saints are people who have received a new power. We are weak. We are powerless before the threat of evil. We have no control over world events, no control over the forces of nature, no control over ourselves. God, through Christ, gives us the power to overcome the power of sin, evil and death. God gives us strength when we are weak, guidance when we're lost, and power to defeat the opposition.
We're celebrating the wrong day! We're celebrating Halloween when we should be celebrating All Saints Day!
Don Kuehle is a retired United Methodist minister who lives in Jackson. Opinions expressed are those of the author.Religion on 10/31/2019
Print Headline: Celebrating The Wrong Day