How will you spend Halloween? | Faith | The Press and Standard

by | October 30, 2016 5:00 am

Last Updated: October 26, 2016 at 1:44 pm

In just a few days all of the little ghosts, goblins, princesses, princes, frogs, Super Hero characters, and the like, will be knocking at our doors, strongly echoing those familiar words, “Trick?” or “Treat?” Some of them will be attending neighborhood and community parties or celebrations at various churches. Some will spend a nice evening at home with family because Halloween will not be a part of what they celebrate.
I can remember my days of celebrating for Halloween and taking my three sons to do the same. However, as time passed and I took a closer walk with Christ, my mindset about celebrating Halloween changed. Do you know from where this celebration originated and why? Let’s take a brief look, then.
According to “Today’s Halloween Traditions” from History.com, “The American Halloween tradition of ‘trick-or-treating’ probably dates back to the early All Souls’ Day parades in England. During the festivities, poor citizens would beg for food and families would give them pastries called ‘soul cakes’ in return for their promise to pray for the family’s dead relatives. The distribution of soul cakes was encouraged by the church as a way to replace the ancient practice of leaving food and wine for roaming spirits. The practice, which was referred to as ‘going a-souling,’ was eventually taken up by children who would visit the houses in their neighborhood and be given ale, food, and money.
“The tradition of dressing in costume for Halloween has both European and Celtic roots. Hundreds of years ago, winter was an uncertain and frightening time. Food supplies often ran low and, for the many people afraid of the dark, the short days of winter were full of constant worry.
“On Halloween, when it was believed that ghosts came back to the earthly world, people thought that they would encounter ghosts if they left their homes. To avoid being recognized by these ghosts, people would wear masks when they left their homes after dark so that the ghosts would mistake them for fellow spirits. On Halloween, to keep ghosts away from their houses, people would place bowls of food outside their homes to appease the ghosts and prevent them from attempting to enter.”
Then, what does God’s Word say about celebrating Halloween? There are many Scriptural references related to the concepts of Halloween, but I will share just a few of them. Do your own research, for the Scriptures are there to guide you.
Based on 1 Corinthians 10:21 (ESV), “You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons.”
Romans 12:2 (ESV) goes on to say, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Further, Isaiah 5:20 (ESV) states, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!”
Finally, in Hosea 4:6 (ESV) we are told, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me. And since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.”
Now to throw a monkey wrench into your judgment about celebrating Halloween, I leave you this week with this story, “Mysterious Ways: A Halloween Treat” by Barbara Marrine (Guideposts), about an unlikely encounter on All Hallow’s Eve that answered a worried woman’s prayers:
“‘Hurry, Mommy, let’s go trick-or-treating!’ My daughter waited by the door in her pink princess costume while I paced the living room. Usually I liked taking her out on Halloween, but this year, I was a wreck. I was worried sick about my mother, who was in China on a vacation. Some vacation! I got a call that afternoon that she had slipped and fallen on the marble floor of her hotel and broken her hip. She was taken to a Beijing hospital. Mom was nervous because she couldn’t understand any of the doctors. If only I could do something to help her!
“‘Mom-my…’”
“I knew I couldn’t let my worries ruin my daughter’s fun. There’s nothing I could do for Mom except pace and pray, I thought. We left the house and headed down the block. I was so distracted, I barely took note of all the costumed kids around me. The sooner my daughter filled her bag with goodies, the sooner I could get back to my pacing.
“A blinking red light approached through the darkness. It was a pumpkin-shaped pin attached to the coat of a man whose son I’d once given piano lessons to. ‘“Hello there,’ I said, greeting him and the little cowboy at his side.
“‘Hello,’ the father answered. ‘Having fun?’
“‘I’m trying,’ I said. ‘Why, what’s wrong?’ he asked. I told him the whole story. My mother, in China, breaking her hip. Not understanding any of the doctors. ‘And I’m too far away to do anything!’ I said. He raised his eyebrows. ‘Beijing, you said?’ he asked. I nodded. He pursed his lips then smiled.
“‘Believe it or not, my sister is a doctor at an English-speaking hospital there. If you want, I’ll make a call right away, and we’ll try and get your mom transferred.’” A few days later I sat on the living room floor with my daughter as she finished the last of the candy. ‘Mommy, how far away is China?’ she asked. “Not as far as I thought,’ I said.
You be the judge! How will you spend Halloween? Have a wonderfully blessed week, and never leave home without Him!

(Anna Bright is a minister and educator in Walterboro. She can be reached at abrightcolumn@lowcountry.com)

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