THE PASTOR’s PEN October 21, 2018
Dear Church Family and Friends,
This Wednesday is the fated Halloween. Some have already began to ask, “Are we having church this Wednesday night?” Well, that will be up to you the people. I personally hate to give this day over entirely to the celebration of goblins, witches and monsters. I would like to think we as God’s faithful children would want to gather and worship Him in thanksgiving for his deliverance from the “prince of darkness” and for our salvation. But, I know the mischief that often takes place on this night and that many of you want to watch out for your homes, farms, and places of business to prevent vandalism and pranks. So you will have to decided abut having service this Wednesday on whether you will come or not.
But that raises another debated question, “What about Halloween?” Should Christians recognize and celebrate this day devoted to witches and the creatures of darkness? I mean some denomination don’t allow their kids to even celebrate Christmas and then we celebrate O Hallo’s Eve. Make one stop and say, “Hum?” It can be puzzling.
Here is a little history of Halloween. The Celtic festival of Samhain is probably the source of the present-day Halloween celebration. The Celts new year began on November first.
A festival that began the previous evening honored Samhain, the Celtic lord of death. The celebration marked the beginning of the season of cold, darkness, and decay. It naturally became associated with human death. The Celts believed that Samhain allowed the souls of the dead to return to their earthly homes for this evening. On the evening of the festival, the Druids, who were the priests and teachers of the Celts, ordered the people to put out their fires. The Druids built a huge new year’s bonfire of oak branches, which they considered sacred. They burned animals, crops, and human beings as sacrifices.
Then each family relit its fire from the new year’s fire. During the celebration, people sometimes wore costumes made of animal heads and skins. They told fortunes about the coming year by examining the remains of the animals that had been sacrificed.
All Saints Day: Many of the customs of the Celts survived even after the people became Christians. During the 800’s, the church established All Saints’ Day on November first. They made the old pagan customs part of this Christian holy day.
The Catholic Church later began to honor the dead on November second. This day became known as All Soul’s Day. The Catholics believed that you could pray the dead out of purgatory.
The Jack-o-Lantern originated with an Irishman named Jack who loved to play pranks on the Devil. Legend is that he was made to wander the world carrying a lantern to show him the way, going to neither heaven nor hell. Hollowed out pumpkins with candles lighted inside were supposed to scare evil spirits away.
The Irish initiated “Trick-or-treating” when farmers would go from house to house to collect food for the village.
Costumes went from children dressing up like martyrs in celebration of All Saints Day to the modern day costumes of witches, etc… (SOURCE: Encyclopedia Britanica and others.)
Kids seem to like Halloween and Easter. Maybe their sweet teeth or tooth if the sugar has decayed them all, has something to do with it. In 2006 and for many years, Oct. 29 and Apr. 15 (the days before Halloween and Easter Sunday) were the top 2 days for candy sales. (from Gary Foster)
All this talk of haunts and goblins reminds me of a story I heard once about two men trying to get home in a hurry. Late one dark night, two men were walking home after a party. They were tired and desperate to get home, so they decided to take a shortcut through a cemetery.
They got to about the middle of the graveyard, and they were startled and stopped moving. There was a terrifying noise, “TAP-TAP-TAP” coming from the shadows.
Trembling with fear, they spotted an old man with a hammer and chisel, chipping away at one of the headstones.
“Hey Mister,” one of them said after catching his breath. “You SCARED us half to death. We thought you were a GHOST! What are you doing working here so late at night?”
“Those fools!” the old man grumbled. “They spelt my name wrong!”
The men made it out of the cemetery and home in record time.
Well, back to the serious. Here is what Dr. James Dobson has to say about Halloween. “Halloween is a rather different story. Whereas it can be argued that Christmas is a Christian holiday with Christian origins that has suffered the effects of growing secularism, Halloween can be traced to distinctly pagan sources. It is reasonable, then, that many believers would find some aspects of its celebration disturbing. I agree with them in that regard. The traditional emphasis upon the occult, witches, devils, death, and evil sends messages to our kids that godly parents can only regard with alarm. There is clearly no place in the Christian community for this “darker side” of Halloween.
Even here, however, there is a place for some harmless fun. Kids love to dress up and pretend. If the Halloween experience is focused on fantasy rather than the occult, I see no harm in it. Make costumes for your children that represent fun characters, such as Mickey Mouse or an elderly grandmother, and then let them go door-to-door asking for treats. This side of Halloween can be thoroughly enjoyable for the little ones.
Let me add, again, that I’ve given you my personal opinion. I realize that the topic is controversial among committed Christians, and I’m sensitive to the reasons for their misgivings. My final word to parents on the subject would be ’Stay true to your own convictions.’” (SOURCE: Focus on the Family Website. http://www.family.org/docstudy/solid/a0003846.html)
Now here is the Bible Quest for the week.
147. Which was the Mount of Blessing?
A. Gerizim; B. Nebo; C. Zion; D. Olives; E. Vernon
148. “Whoever believes that Jesus is ___________ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves Him who is begotten of Him.”
149. What is the only domestic animal not mentioned in the Bible?
150. True or False…The final battle between good and evil will take place on Mt. Carmel.
A Bonus Funny:
What is the major difference between Jesus and Jonah?
Jesus had dinner with a sinner; and the fish had a sinner for dinner!
Until next week, Love and prayers,
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