October 17, 2021
"Come and see what God has done: he is awesome in his deeds toward the children of man.” (Psalm 66:5, ESV)
The tradition of “Halloween” has been around since I can remember and is very different today than it was when I was a child. Going all the way back to the fifties, my brothers, sisters and I made our own costumes and put on masks. We were given boundaries by Mom and Dad, then they released us without fear and did not accompany us as we went. We hit the streets and I have no idea how long we stayed out. The weather had a great impact on the time we spent knocking on doors. But no matter how long we stayed out, we always managed to collect enough candy to keep us on a sugar-high for several days.
My children were little when I remember the first incident of someone putting needles or razor blades into fruit or candy. After this happened, to protect the children, parents stopped letting their children go Trick-Or-Treating without an adult. Hospitals encouraged families to bring their bag of candy to be x-rayed for safety purposes. Today, parents are much more careful about their children when they go out and many Adults still enjoy taking part in the Halloween activities.
All of this brings up the question each year about the origins of Halloween. Halloween’s origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in). The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago, mostly in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom and northern France, celebrated their new year on November 1. This day marked the end of summer after all the harvest was completed. It also was the beginning of the long nights of winter. The Celtic’s celebrated Samhain on the night of October 31. They believed Samhain was when the boundary between the living and the dead became fluid and the ghosts of the dead returned to earth. That is the short explanation. It was a pagan festival and over the years has evolved into something that has no resemblance to the old Celtic festival of Samhain. Except that many people today still associate the first cold snap of late October with death.
Halloween has also become a major economic boost to our economy. According to the internet, 25% of all candy sold in the United States each year is sold in October. It is second only to Christmas in dollars spent to mark a day on our calendar.
The big question is, should a Christian take part? It is like many things in our culture. It had pagan origins but over the centuries has evolved into something for which those who lived long ago would not recognize. As for me, it is just something we do for kids. It’s a day kids look forward to. I’m so thankful there are people in our community who have made it possible for our children to collect an abundance of candy in a very safe atmosphere.
“May he defend the cause of the poor of the people, give deliverance to the children of the needy, and crush the oppressor!” (Psalm 72:4, ESV)
Thanks for listening and keep on shining. —Scott
Let me share an interesting way to get out of conflict. You could look the other person in the eye and ask, “What works best for you?” Okay, I get this isn’t the most popular option – and that you might rather walk on hot coals than concede anything to someone who is irritating you. But, it worked for Abraham.
Abraham once looked at his nephew Lot and said – let’s not fight over who gets the best land. You pick. I’ll take what’s left. Lot picks what looks like the best spot and leaves—conflict avoided.
But maybe you object. Why does the other person get the best spot? I should get it! But, here’s the point: God can give you more. You choose love over ambition and that’s the road to being blessed. Listen to what God tells Abraham after this happened: “Lift up your eyes from where you are and look north and south, east and west. All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever.” Do you see? It doesn’t matter what we give away! God is a much better giver than we are.
Camden Avenue church of Christ