by Rev. Dr. Daniel C. Wilburn
Halloween is not supposed to be Happy. It is the night before All Saints’ Day, the glorious day when the minions of hell are reminded they lost the battle to King Jesus and his holy ones. The holy ones consist of all historical Christians and us today. Halloween has various pagan backgrounds (you can google this stuff all day long if you desire) but for authentic Christians the eve of remembering and celebrating the legacy and victory of the new people of God through Jesus’ victory over death and evil, Halloween is nothing more than that moment to watch the demons flail about, torn to bits within their own chaos and destruction.
I find it interesting that local Christians have forced our schools to stop saying Happy Halloween. Now they have Fall Festivals at school instead of Halloween parties. My guess is that none of these Christians understand nor celebrate All Saints’ Day November 1st. Yet, I will assume most would celebrate the lives and causes of Christians like Francis of Assisi (the poor), John Calvin (reformed the western church), William Wilberforce (slavery in Britain), Clara Barton (started the Red Cross), Corrie Ten Boom (saved Jews during WWII), Rev. Dr. M.L. King, Jr (civil rights in America), Bishop Desmond Tutu (against Apartheid in S. Africa).
Historical Christians have helped bring education and medicine around the world; come along side the diseased and dying, stood up against tyrants – and been martyred for it; fed and clothed the poor, refused to fight in wars – or refused to celebrate victory over political enemies, propelled the arts, stood up for the rights of unborn, stood up for the rights of the oppressed and the list goes on. (At this point some will point out the evil some Christians have committed – and they have. But in the balance, the good done in the name of Jesus far far far outweighs any wrong done in the name of Jesus. Compare at this point Christian good to the “good” atheists and secularists have done: a few names will suffice – Marx, Stalin, Mao…)
Each saint (holy one) celebrated November 1st stuffs the demons back into their holes. In the end love wins – always. In the end the Devil loses. And let us not fall into the idea that this victory has not occurred at all yet. The Apostle Paul makes this clear over and over that a new kingdom has already begun… Colossians 1:23 “the gospel… has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven…” The victory is won. But the full expression of that kingdom is not realized — yet (cf. Romans 8:18-39). But it will when the King returns. Until then, do not be scared of Halloween. But realize the demons are real and they are really in trouble – YOU, Christian, are their worst nightmare! For one night, October 31st we allow those who reign in hell to express their anguish and bitter defeat. But bright and early the new day dawns – All Saints’ Day. Sing a new song! Announce Jesus is King! Put your hand to the plow and continue to press forward with the work of the kingdom (1 Corinthians 3:12-17 – …build on the foundation of Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit).
Each November 1st at our house I make sure there is no hint of Halloween left over. Every jack-o-lantern or string of lights, or cobweb is hidden or thrown out. Clean out the house of October 31st first thing on November 1st! Bring your small children into this tradition and let them understand the Eve of the Hallowed Ones is just a cheap last ditch cry of a defeated Devil – that October 31st is really the Eve of All Saints’ Day. And teach your children that they are children of the new covenant, the victorious ones, the hallowed ones, created for good works, creating the building materials to be used in the kingdom once the King returns.
“Therefore… stand firm. Let nothing move you [especially not Halloween]. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”
– 1 Corinthians 15:58