Halloween and All Saints' Day

October 22nd, 2014

This week has two holidays: Halloween and All Saints’ Day. History and tradition tell us that these two holidays developed both separately and together. Celebrations of the harvest existed among many cultures, and the early church held vigils to honor the memory of the saints. As both of these days grew in significance among the faithful, a shared purpose emerged. Either holiday can stand on its own, but each has more to teach us when we look at them together.

Darkness and light

If you’ve ever walked out of a movie theater on a summer afternoon, you know the sun can be “blinding.” But, if you’ve been at the beach or on the top of a mountain all morning, the afternoon sun doesn’t seem so bright; same sunshine, different point of comparison. Halloween has a lot of elements that are far from sacred. But the use of dark colors and masks and the concept of warding off evil is purposeful. On the following day we decorate the church in white paraments—the cloths that cover the altar and pulpit—and we often light candles. We celebrate the goodness of the souls that have gone on to God in the past year. The brightness of All Saints’ Day is even brighter because we lived through the eve of darkness.

Scriptural imagery

The Bible is a fantastic book because of its vibrant descriptions of events, landscapes, and emotions. The use of darkness—a place of nighttime, sometimes a place of fear and/or pain, and often a place of waiting—is contrasted with the use of lightness —a place of daytime, sometimes a place of boldness, sometimes a place of peace, and sometimes a place of revelation. It is the light and dark working together that offer us expressions of God’s presence in our lives. When we are in the places of fear or pain in our souls, God is with us, offering us boldness and peace.

Question of the Day: What was one of your "darkest moments"?

Focal Scriptures: Genesis 1:1-5; Deuteronomy 1:29-33; Luke 23:44-46

For a complete lesson on this topic visit LinC.

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