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2009-10-29 digital edition

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2009-10-29 / Community News

Halloween

by Rev. Linda O'Neal Minister at Lexington and Blue United Methodist Churches

Text: Mark 10:13-16

"Halloween" originally meant "all hallows evening." "All hallows" meant "all the holy ones" or as we say today, "all saints." (In the Lord's Prayer, we pray, "Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed by thy name…" "Hallowed" means "holy;" "holy is your name" is what we are saying.) November 1st was "All Saints Day" on the calendar of the Holy Roman Empire back when everyone in Europe was Catholic. Today the Catholic church and most Protestant churches still recognize November 1st as All Saints Day. The history of Halloween can be found on Wikipedia. Halloween began as a pagan ritual commemorating the beginning of the "dark" time of the year, when it was believed the division between the world of the living and the world of the dead was thinner. Ghosts could therefore more easily travel back to our world when the days grew shorter was the superstition of the time.

Today some Christians fear celebrating Halloween because of the emphasis on witches and magic, really a thinly veiled reference to paganism. Add to that vampires and ghosts and ghouls and such, and little children are frightened by phenomena that do not actually exist. Worst of all, children are tempted to believe in things that are not real. Other Christians simply enjoy Halloween as harmless fun while being careful to instruct their children that there is no such thing as magic or vampires, etc. and that people who practice witchcraft are not Christians and are not worshiping gods that truly exist. Whichever opinion is held, Christian parents today are fighting an uphill battle against the culture. There are many ways that children can get messages that are not Christian, so talk to your children about your faith! May all our children be safe on Halloween.

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