This is a multi-day post. To start at the beginning, click here.
Expanding on the Christian side of this:
These are taken from the book "Redeeming Halloween" by Wier & McCune
"In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Ceasar - when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea..." (Luke 3:1) So begins the biblical account of the public ministry of Jesus Christ from the book of Luke - and so is found the seed of Halloween. Jesus said His followers would suffer for His sake, be abused by men, and even killed for proclaiming the truth (Matthew 10:16-39). It would be the faithfulness of the men & women who endure such persecution that God would spread the gospel and firmly plant the church of Jesus Christ for all time. Christ had foretold it, and for the first 300 years after His ascension into heaven, that suffering would be unparalleled.
Christians subverted the state religion - paganism - and became a thorn in Rome's side. The empire's answer was torture. Ignatius, leader of the church in Antioch in A.D. 107, was a pupil of the apostle John. When Ignatius refused to renounce Christ, he was condemned to the lions. He was bound and taken to the capital where in Rome, Christians greeted and encouraged him, but they could not delay his divine appointment. On December 20, 107, still refusing to deny his Lord, Ignatius was thrown into the amphitheater and torn apart by wild animals as the crowd cheered. Though events like this were common, they did not have the effect Rome desired. Pagans who witnessed the courage and conviction of Ignatius and others like him were drawn to the faith. Miraculous stories of converts were recorded as a result of such steadfast faith. Miraculous too are the stories of God's grace to those who endured. There are many stories of these Martyrs. For more information on the history of the church, read "History of the Christian Church" by Philip Schaff.
Christianity was secure and truly sealed with the public conversion of Rome's emperor, Constantine, in the year A.D. 313. Within a short time, Constantine would declare Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire, and thus the known world. God had indeed had a plan.
We are all part of that universal church - no matter what denomination. As those who believe in salvation through Christ alone, we owe a debt of honor to the faithfulness of those who stood firm in the face of death and established the church. As the church stepped into a new position of worldly honor, these martyrs were officially recognized. Special days were set aside to remember the individuals who had suffered and died for the love of their Savior. The list was too long and there were not enough days on the calendar. In A.D 610, the church dedicated May 13 as All Saint's Day. Also known as All Hallows, May 13 was the day the festival was celebrated for over one hundred years.
Then is A.D. 741, All Hallows/All Saint's Day, found a new home on the calendar. At the time there were concerns about the growing popularity of a pagan festival held on November 1, known as Samhain. To counteract the influence it was having within the Christian community, the church turned to a previously successful strategy of claiming the date of their own. As in the case of Christmas, the celebration of Jesus' birth was assigned December 25 because that was the date pagans were celebrating the winter solstice.
This time, Samhain, the pagan festival of death, was replaced with All Saints' Day. Borrowing from the Jewish tradition of preparing for significant festivals, the Christian church reserved the day before the religious festival as a sacred time. October 31 was then set aside as an evening of preparation called "All Hallow'een" or "the eve of the holy ones." Together, they created a meaningful time for the church to remember the early martyrs.
What happened to this church festival from that time until now is where most of the debate rages. Unfortunately, most don't realize the original intent of our church fathers. Though their reason for establishing the holiday is undeniable, over the years many cultures have influenced our current Halloween.
Remembering Hebrews 13:7, the church fathers believed in the value of honoring faithful men and women: "Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith." There was, and still is, much to imitate in the lives of not only those who died a martyr's death, but also those who lived out lives full of faith. The Bible is replete with such stories.
In every generation, followers of Jesus Christ have had their faith put to the test, without relenting, without recanting, and without compromising, even in the face of death. That is what the night of Halloween was established to contemplate and celebrate!
It may seem as though this holiday is irredeemable, but isn't God all about redemption? Is our God not bigger than that? The book talks about how in the case of Halloween, the truth really can set you free: free from guilt, free from fear, and free to celebrate the power and goodness of God. The authors suggest that we take back the celebration that rightly belongs to the people of God and restore the purpose for which it was established. By focusing on a truth worth celebrating, a message worth communicating, and people worth commemorating, Halloween can become more than a holiday. It will be a holy day! Once your discover the truth, you won't have to whisper the word Halloween anymore. You can really celebrate without selling out. Halloween, after all, is a holy word - for those willing to let Jesus redeem it!
I don't know about you but I'm really excited for Halloween!
So, I know I said I would be posting fun ideas...and I will...but you'll have to wait until tomorrow! Click here for part 3.
Psalm 34:22 says: But the Lord will redeem those who serve him. No one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.
So, I take refuge in my Lord who redeems.
Let's hear your thoughts and ideas on this.
Welcome to our journey. The purpose of my blog is not only to journal our life experience, but also to share what God is doing in our lives. I do not claim to be an expert in parenting, marriage, or even the Bible. But I do have a heart to share my experiences and the true love that God has for each and every one of us. You can read our testimony by clicking on the top of the page. And if you'd like to know about the Homeless Ministry my husband started, you can click on the Homeless tab. I hope you will comment freely on my posts and in my community.