The day after the night before

Today is 1 November. All Saints Day.

all-saints-dayAll Saints Day is a Christian festival celebrated in honour of all the saintsĀ celebrated annually on 1 November by the Roman Catholic Church, the Anglican Church, the Methodist Church and other Protestant churches.

Christians who celebrate All Saints Day believe that there is a prayerful spiritual bond between those in heaven and the living. Some of these saints are well-known such as Paul, St Augustine and John Wesley, others individually known to us such as a grandma or a friend. In the British Isles, this day has been celebrated since the 8th century.

Halloween is All Hallows’ Eve. Hallow means Holy. Eve means the evening before. Halloween is the evening before the Holy Day. A day for clearing out all that is not holy and good to be able to celebrate all that is good and all the godly people who have gone before.

A great American guy I follow on Facebook called Shame Claiborne who writes and speaksĀ about peacemaking, social justice, and Jesus shared this in a post yesterday –

For hundreds of years, before jack-o-lanterns and zombies and candy corn, Christians around the world have remembered the dead, the saints, the cloud of witnesses that have gone before us.

This weekend liturgical Christians around the world honour “all saints day” by reciting the names of the holy saints of God throughout the centuries. Rather than glorifying death, Halloween is a time we can celebrate life, remembering the lives of our loved ones and the heroes of the faith. The dead can inspire the living to truly live.
While we don’t need more gore and blood, there is something sweet about being able to laugh at death and fear, something Halloween gives us permission to do. After all, we know the dead can rise again and death has lost its sting.
Every year on Halloween, I bring out some photos of dead people, saints, loved ones, heroes of the faith. And I talk to our kids about what Halloween can really mean.
It’s not about zombies, but it IS about the living dead. Just as Jesus rose from the dead, so can we. Halloween is a time to remember how “hallowed” — how holy — life is. And how death has lost its power over us.
Halloween is a time to cherish life, laugh at death, and remember that the tombs are empty.
Oh death, Thou art dead!
Happy Halloween.
The dead will rise!

I love this. Taking what has become such a secular celebration and infusing it with a powerful resurrection message.

The dead can inspire the living to truly live.

Many Christians have lost sight of the truth and importance of All Saints Day. We’ve got so hung up on debating whether it’s right or wrong for Christians to do Halloween that we’ve completely missed the point. We’ve thrown away a wonderful opportunity to speak about the truth about death and life, good and evil.

My Facebook feed has been clogged up with shared articles and quotes about where Christians should stand on Halloween. And yet I’m guessing there won’t be a single one about All Saints Day today. We’ve spent so long focusing on what’s over there that we’ve missed what’s over here.

The dead can inspire the living to truly live.

So today I am going to take the time to remember all those people I have known who have been ‘called home to heaven’, as it says on my Mum and Dad’s gravestone. I’m going to give thanks for their lives.

This month, we’re going to be looking at the book of Daniel. He’s one of those great characters in the Bible, isn’t he? One of the heroes. A godly man. A holy man. One of these saints who we can remember and give thanks for today.

I have a feeling Daniel is going to inspire us this month about how to truly live.

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