The Truth about Halloween - A Christian perspective
What is Halloween really all about?
Halloween Brightens up the long dark winter
To many people Halloween is just a bit of fun. The winter is a long, dark and cold season. Imagine there was no Guy Fawkes night with bonfire and fireworks, no Halloween with parties, dressing up, trick or treat, no Christmas with family get-togethers, feasts and celebration - imagine how dull and dreary winter would be. It would be horrible!
Halloween is one of the three main winter celebrations that brightens our winter and makes it far more bearable.
But isn’t it evil?
For most people, probably for you it really is just a fun time. There is nothing sinister about it at all. Maybe a few kids go too far with their 'tricks', maybe some people wake up the next morning hung over, but that is usually as bad as it gets.
Halloween tends to caricature evil.
Evil is made out to be little red devils with goat feet and pitched forks, or witches with green faces, crooked noses and pointed hats or monstrous ghouls. These are all like cartoon characters, and cartoon characters do not exist in real life do they? So by making evil into cartoon characters (caricatures) evil becomes trivialised, a bit of fun, not real. Right? Wrong!
We would be naive to imagine there is nothing sinister about it at all. The truth is, many people have morbid inclinations. A fascination with death and real evil. Halloween feeds that morbidity with horror movies. Horror movies are sinister, they entertain using the most horrible, sick, disgusting and evil ideas and images they can concoct, and the more evil and graphic - the better! Why do people find it entertaining seeing others getting torn to pieces and horrifically tortured or eaten alive etc? Without pressing the point too hard, I think it is fair to say, there is at least something sinister about that.
Real Evil Exists
As we will see, real Evil really does exist, but rather than face up to the real evil, we trivialise it, caricature it as something it is not and then fail to recognise it's true face - even when we look it in the face, as we all do.
The truth is, whatever terrible, sick and evil act you can possibly imagine - if it is possible to do, then you can be sure, somebody somewhere is probably doing it - right? Remember Fred West? Surely an embodiment of real evil - and he was far worse than the movies! Fred West still exists, he has different names, we might even know one and not realise it - just as many people knew Fred West but had no idea what he and his wife were doing. Maybe your next door neighbour is a Fred West - probably not - but there are Fred Wests out there - of that you can be sure. Sooner or later one of them will be found out again and we will all be truly horrified. There are Fred Wests out there who do not do what he did - but only because they are afraid of the consequences - but if they knew they could get away with it - they'd do it. There is real evil in the world. Consider the following as expressions of real evil ...
- A act of suicide bomber who blows himself and others up! EVIL.
- A act of a nation that rises up against another in war. Pressing a button and sending a missile, dropping a bomb on people and blowing them up. This is evil - legal mass Evil! (I know that sometimes it is necessary - but that just proves the reality of evil, that such terrible measures become necessary).
- The evil of the calloused husband who rips out the heart of his wife by cheating on her (and visa-versa) with all the devastation it brings.
- The evil of people left to live and die on the streets.
- The evil of the drugs trade. The evil act of the smart looking young man who sells heroin to the young lad and sets him on a path of total misery that ends in tragic death.
- The act of pedophilia
- The act of an acid attack
- The act of rape. Approximately 85,000 women and 12,000 men were raped last year in the uk, that's an average of 11 rapes per hour, and that is just adults! ( https://rapecrisis.org.uk/statistics.php- )
These things are truly wicked, sinister, they are evil. We live in a broken, messed up, dark and mad world that is crying out for salvation from the tyranny of evil that we have all become far too accustomed to.
Not all is evil
It may sound like I am saying the whole world is just an evil place. Certainly not. There is also, so much good in the world. So many acts of kindness. It would be very easy to do a list of acts of kindness - but that would make this even longer. The point I am making is just that real evil exists, and notwithstanding the good in the world, evil is still rampant, that's the point.
Now for the Surprise
Having said all that, the surprising thing is that Halloween is in fact a Christian Celebration, like Guy Fawkes and Christmas.
Now there may be a few druids out there who would argue: “Actually Halloween was originally an ancient celtic festival Samhain”. But the truth is nobody today celebrates Samhain (maybe a few tree-huggers in Lewes), we celebrate HALLOWEEN'.
Halloween comes from ‘Hallows Eve’. You can easily see the similarity. Hallows Eve was celebrated by Christians long, long before Samhain. So what is “Hallows Eve”? Well we know what ‘Eve’ means. Think ‘Christmas Eve’. Christmas Eve is the evening before Christmas Day. Eve means ‘The evening before’. So Hallows Eve is ‘The Evening before Hallows Day”.
So what is ‘Hallows Day?’ Hallows means ‘Saints’. Hallows Eve, or Halloween is the night before ‘Hallows Day’ or ‘All Saints Day’. Many churches around the country, especially Anglican churches still celebrate ‘All Saints Day’.
So what are 'saints'? ‘Saints’ are simply Christians. All Saints Day is the day that Christians celebrate their champion Jesus’s victory over all the powers of hell, darkness and evil.
So the Bible tells us concerning Jesus …
15 And having disarmed the [evil] powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.” (Colossians 2).
Christians used to celebrate this event by dressing their children up to make a mockery of the devil and His demons. It was a way of saying, “We have no fear of you at all, you are powerless”. It was a time to mock and scorn the powers of darkness and celebrate the victory of Jesus, it was not a celebration of evil. It was an expression of faith that, no matter how dark the world gets, the day will drive the night away, one day, forever, all evil will cease, and all because of Jesus.
Can you imagine a world without evil? Where you never need to worry about your children? Where you don't need locks on your doors? Where nobody ever hurts anyone else physically, emotionally etc. That is what All Hallows Day is all about. The celebration of Good over Evil, of Jesus Victory over all the powers of darkness at work in our world and all our relationships etc. It was a celebration that anticipates the coming final victory of Christ.
Hallows Eve is the night before that celebration. It was believed that the night before All Saints Day, the powers of evil would do their worst knowing that the coming day would drive them and their darkness away.
Darkness must always give way to light!
Sadly, Christianity is as real to people today as Halloween. However, just as there is real evil in the world, so there is real christianity and the real Jesus who really has defeated the powers of evil. Jesus really does set people free and brings true light to their dark world. In the darkness - without Jesus people are lost in life, many people feel this ‘lostness’, not knowing who they really are or why they exist or what is the point of it all. But nobody needs to be lost. This Halloween could become not only a time for fun and parties, but a time when Jesus the Light of the world comes into your life to bring light to your world.
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