As we approach the time officially known as Halloween, we Christians must shine the light of truth on the dark side. The annual economic impact of Halloween is estimated at between four to six billion dollars and is considered the “second most important party night in North America,” according to historian Nicholas Rogers. However, the Druid roots of this celebration are in the Celtic Festival of Samhain, and probably included animal and human sacrifices and various occultic sexual practices.
The name itself refers to “All Hallows Eve” or “All Saints Day.” Druids honored their “lord of the dead” and saw this as a time when the dead came back to mingle among the living and believed that sinful souls were transferred into animals. Through gifts and sacrifices, they sought to expiate sins.
The connection to the “Christianity” of October 31 began in the eighth century when Pope Gregory III led the Roman Catholic church festival honoring the dead to be moved to November 1. Yet the eve of All Saints Day became known during the Middle Ages as a time favored by Satan’s followers, particularly witches and sorcerers.
Christians are charged to not “learn the customs of the nations” (Jeremiah 10:2) and as Christ’s light to have no “fellowship with darkness” (2 Corinthians 6:14-18). Rather than celebrating Satan and death, we are to “come out from among them.” God has “not given us a spirit of fear” (2 Timothy 1:7). We focus on what is true, good and commendable (Philippians 4:8).
As a church, we have urged children to dress with positive costumes, have fun, and be on our campus for the annual Trunk and Treat party. With wholesome activities, we provide a safe environment and urge families to have an alternative to the increasingly dangerous practice of “trick or treat” going to strangers’ homes.
We know that demons are real and that Satan always seeks to trumpet his own celebrity. It is also important to remember that on October 31, 1517, Martin Luther began the Protestant Reformation. As we celebrate its 500th birthday this weekend, remember Luther’s response to the devil at Halloween: “The best way to drive out the devil, if he will not yield to texts of scripture, is to jeer and flout him, for he cannot bear scorn.” May Christ’s church truly be reformed and revived as we put the dark side on the defensive and expose the Great Imposter. In the words of Luther’s great hymn; “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God:” “The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him; his rage we can endure, for lo his doom is sure, one little word shall fell him.” Jesus is Lord and Light!