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Archive for October 30th, 2019

Image result for e.t. halloween scene

The name “Halloween” is an English contraction of “Hallow” and “een”.  “Hallow” means to make holy, as in, “hallowed be Thy Name”, from the Lord’s prayer.  “Een” is “Eve”.  1 November has been All Saints Day for centuries.  In the Church, the eve before a feast or festival day begins the day, as it is written in Genesis 1: “…and it was evening and it was morning the first day”, and then 6 more times.  So in Judaism, Sabbath begins at sundown on Friday.  Halloween means All Saints Eve, the day before the great feast day of All Saints.

In an excellent article in The Federalist, Christians Used To Do Halloween Better Than Pagans by Holly Scheer, she refutes the incorrect scholarly bull that Christians adapted All Saints Day based upon pagan Celtic holidays like Samhain, a festival of death.  It can’t be because All Saints Day originated in the Mediterranean area of the Church to commemorate the lives of martyrs, centuries before Samhain and thousands of miles from the British Isles.  Mrs. Scheer cites this thoroughly researched article about the first origin of All Saints Day, then later the pagan ‘festivities’, which can be found here.

In another excellent article in The Federalist, Stop Turning Your Yard Into A Hellscape For Halloween by Joy Pullmann, she speaks about the horror of her young children seeing yards that magnify the macabre, evil and death.  One of her nearby neighborhoods had representations of severed heads hanging from street lamps.

Likewise, there has been a severe caution from our evangelical Christian neighbors about Christians of embracing evil and death and the devil at this time of the year.  Full disclosure: I am 65 years of age and I don’t remember such a fascination with evil.  My childhood remembrance of Halloween is that it was basically a time for children (under 13!) to go trick or treating. I don’t remember any huge adult intrusion into Halloween then, but we can see it now.  The depiction of this kind of Halloween is beautifully portrayed in the Halloween scene from “E.T.”.  For instance:  the only horror movies at the time were the old ‘30s black and white ones, such as, Frankenstein, Dracula and the Wolfman.

What happened for this drastic change? Just as the pagans coopted All Saints Day for their evil, so has American culture, that is, people. But what changed in people?  Though, I can not prove it, as the churches in the late ‘50s and in the revolutions of ‘60s tried to be more and more relevant, denying Christian doctrines as basic as right and wrong, the wrong crept in.  In the ‘70s or so some liberal Protestant theologians declared we are the church “come of age”. We’re for social justice but not as part of the church’s mission but her only mission. We have shuffled off the superstitious past of believing in the 6 day creation, Biblical miracles, the devil and the  like.  This had been developing for well over a century and it came out of the closet with the complicit help of mainline church bodies, who are now the liberal/progressivist old-line:  and now we are afraid to send our daughters to the bathroom because some boy maybe in there with the costume of a girl. 

Just when we supposedly did away with such archaic notions of the devil, for instance, a blockbuster movie came out all about the devil: “The Exorcist”, release date,  December 26, 1973, a day after the annual celebration of the Savior’s birth.  It seems to me that this movie opened the floodgates ready to be opened. I don’t think the movie actually started the evil, but it was a signal for the powers and principalities to gear up.  After this, countless movies about the devil, the macabre and the like which are still flooding the imaginations of the young and the old.  Even our front yards and our children can be gruesome…and Halloween is not a simple fun time for kids to go trick or treating.  And when writing about Halloween, another aspect of the day, that it seems has not yet been written about is this: Halloween, along with Valentine’s Day and St. Patrick’s Day have been coopted as well, by adults, that is, sexually ‘liberated’ adults.  All three of those holidays were for kids and St. Patrick’s for celebrating an actual saint, and/or being Irish. Note that all three days have Christian origins!  Now as I have watched sitcoms, and read about these three days, they have become high (low) points to get drunk and get laid.  I call  them “hook-up holidays”. Again, maybe my memory is jaded, or I am naïve, but this did not occur when I was younger but now has become a feature of our decadent culture.

Mrs. Scheer wrote that we Christians reclaim Halloween…like Christmas? That hasn’t worked out too well.  I admire Mrs. Scheer’s positive chutzpah but I don’t share it.   A discipline lost is a discipline that is very hard to reclaim. As the influence of the Church has been and is  being curtailed and dismantled (even by Christians), we can still be the loyal opposition: loyal to the Lord and in opposition to the world by what we teach and do in our Lord’s calling to be the Church, His body.  Years ago, a rabbi wrote that the question is not the separation of church and state, but of church and God.  In a similar vein, we don’t need to reclaim Halloween etc. but to know we are reclaimed by the Lord to be His saints, then the “powers and principalities” (please see: Ephesians 6:12) have not won.  As there is no easy reclaiming of holy days, the actual basis of the word “holiday”, now become culturally profane days, and so there was no easy reclaiming of sinners:  see the Cross of Christ and His saints who did not love their lives in this world, even to death.  I agree with Mrs. Scheer in this: let us celebrate All Saints with all the joy of those who have been found by the Lord and help each other to do so.

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