Tomorrow many Americans with their parade of little ones will celebrate “Halloween” by dressing up and going round about their neighborhoods
saying “Trick or Treat” in hopes of garnering a stash of candy. In fact, there are lots of parties going on around the country right this minute! We used to sponsor “Harvest Parties” to give our youth groupthe fun of costumes and treats minus the connotation of spooks and tricks, but whatever you’re doing for fun this weekend, I thought it might be worth considering what Halloween, “Hallowed Evening,” was originally intended to be. It’s a special “holiday” (“holy day”) to commemorate
the lives of all the saints (known and unknown) who’ve gone before us.
This hallowed evening begins at sunset on October 31, which is the night before “All Saints Day” (November 1) and continues until sunset on that special “holy day.” In other words, from October 31 at sunset until November 1 at sunset, we are given 24 hours to contemplate and honor the lives and deaths of those now departed saints who lived their lives by faith in God, devoted to the work of Christ, which was to “love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets” (Matthew 22:37-40).
So, Halloween wasn’t intended as a night to pretend we’re witches, goblins, ghosts or ghouls. It’s a night to commemorate and celebrate all the saints! Whatever festivities we enjoy this beautiful autumn weekend, I hope we take a little time to consider the lives of those faithful pilgrims of God who have gone before us, some of whom gave their lives so that we could have the heritage of a country where we are free to learn about and imitate Christ. As Paul taught us: “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.”
(1 Corinthians 11:1) “Find Us Faithful” (—by Jon Mohr, 1987)
“We’re pilgrims on the journey
Of the narrow road,
And those who’ve gone before us line the way
Cheering on the faithful,
encouraging the weary
Their lives a stirring testament to God’s sustaining grace.
“Surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses
Let us run the race not only for the prize,
But as those who’ve gone before us
Let us leave to those behind us
The heritage of faithfulness passed on through godly lives.
“After all our hopes and dreams have come and gone
And our children sift though all we’ve left behind
May the clues that they discover
And the memories they uncover
Become the light that leads them to the road we each must find.
“Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful
May the fire of our devotion light their way
May the footprints that we leave
Lead them to believe,
And the lives we live inspire them to obey
Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful.”
(The charming photos of the little dog, Cricket, and the jack-o-lantern belong to Anna Groves and are used by her permission; the group photos are from a trip to Robinette’s with my daughter-in-law Brianna’s sweet family. Thanks to you all!)