All Hallows’ Eve – a time to Sparkle with light and love.
‘The Feast of All Pumpkins’ was one of the slightly irreverent names give by some to Harvest Festival.
Judging from the decorations which fill our shops, pubs and many homes, it is presumably a description that we could apply also to Halloween. Once again this is a day which has been hijacked by commercial interest and turned into something that was never intended. ‘Trick or Treat’ could be seen as a bit of harmless fun – taking over from Guy Fawkes night. After all what does the tradition of lighting a fire and setting off fireworks on November 5th mean to most people today? – outside England, very little. The idea of blowing up Parliament would never occur to us today. Of course not!
The problem is that Halloween has long been associated with the occult, black magic and the darker side of life. A concentration on mock horror can quickly turn into real horror. A concentration on the dark side of life can have a negative effect on life. We are living through some very dark times on our world at present. Ukraine, the energy and cost of living crisis, economic uncertainty throughout the world, drought and famine and the way we are treating refugees, and the poor are all part of a darkness in humanity which creates a negativity that becomes the devil’s playground.
Try reading C S Lewis’s Screwtape Letters if you don’t get what I’m trying to say
However, like all negatives there is an opposite positive and it lies in the name of Halloween itself. ‘Halloween’ means The Eve of All Hallows. The word ‘Hallow’ means ‘Holy’ as in the traditional Lord’s Prayer – ’Hallowed be thy name.’
Halloween is the evening of the Feast Day of the Holy Ones of God – which is another way of describing the Saints.
All Saints’ Day is the glorious feast when we remember the Holy people who have perfumed the world with the fragrance of their holy lives and deep devotion to Christ. So Halloween is a time of preparing for All Saints Day.
This is not best done by thinking about ghosts, vampires and witches.
It is best done by quietly reflecting on those people whose faith has influenced our lives and who have shown something of the saintly qualities we are seek to imitate in our own lives. Few of us has grown in faith without the help of good and holy Christians. People who have encouraged us, taught and shown us something about God’s love, and reflected Christ-like love in their own lives. These are the people we should be thinking about at All Hallows and All Saints. Some are now with God and others are still here, quietly showing us what God means to them. We honour them but more than that, we honour Christ whom they show us.
A better use of Halloween is to praise God for such ‘saints’ and to pray that the holiness they show us might become a quality in our own lives.
Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heav’nly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
(Thomas Ken. b. 1674)