Monday, October 31, 2011
The Merit in Halloween
I ended my last blog by asking the question, “Is there any spiritual merit in Halloween?” And since today is Halloween, it is a fitting time for me to answer that question. I described in my last blog entry the cultic background of many of our modern day Halloween traditions and how they stemmed from a day in which the Druids of Scotland and Ireland would honor Saman, known as the Lord of the dead.
In 834 AD, In order to combat these occult practices, Pope Gregory IV moved the church festival of “All Saints Day” to November 1st. This was a day to honor all the Saints who had died. The eve of the festival was called, “All Hallows E’en” (E’en is a contraction for evening). This gave us the modern name, “Halloween.” No matter what your feelings and convictions are about participating in Halloween traditions, I do believe that there is an aspect of this holiday that can spiritually benefit all of us.
We can make Halloween a very spiritually motivating day if we understand the true heritage and the benefit that there can be in remembering the life’s testimony and message of Saints who have already gone on to glory. We must first understand that one is not made a “saint” because a church council declares it. A “saint” is anyone who has been made righteous through faith alone in Jesus Christ. It is Biblical and profitable for us to remember saints who have gone on before us. That is what Hebrews chapter eleven is all about…remembering men and women of God who have shown great faith and then allowing their life’s message to still motivate and challenge us even today.
So let’s start a new Halloween tradition. It’s one we can all enjoy without compromise. Let’s take time to reflect on such great saints. We can break it down into 3 categories:
1. Saints of theology: These are individuals from the pages of Scripture whose life message greatly influence us for Jesus still today. For me, this is a man like Joshua from the pages of the Old Testament who led Israel in possessing the Promised Land.
2. Saints of history: These would be individuals who lived in history and whose testimony for Christ still impact us today. For me, that includes men like Dr Jerry Falwell and singer/songwriter, Keith Green.
3. Saints of family: These would be family members or close friends who are now with Jesus but whose heritage causes us to walk with Jesus today. For me, this is my Grandpa Distler, who was in full-time ministry for some 50 years before he died.
When we take time to reflect on great saints of the past, even Halloween can become spiritually profitable to us today. After all, it was on Halloween in 1517 that a great man of God named Martin Luther climbed some steps in Germany and posted his “95 Thesis” on the doors of the Wittenberg Church setting off what we know today as the “Great Reformation.” Ah, yes, I believe there is most definitely spiritual merit in Halloween.