Today is the big day for lots of kids.
Many will go to school this morning wearing their costumes. Many more will wear costumes tonight as they go trick-or-treating from door-to-door in our neighbourhoods. Maybe even some of us adults are wearing our costumes today at work.
It’s a time of community building, connecting with neighbours, having lots of fun, and eating piles of candy and chocolate.
My primary role tonight will be to answer the doorbell and hand out chocolate treats to the kids coming by looking for goodies. (One of the major perks is that when no one is looking, I eat the chocolate myself. But I digress.)
Where did this idea of Halloween even come from?
In the Christian tradition, it’s the night before All Saints Day. Hallows Eve is the day before, so we prepare to celebrate the memory of saints gone before us (‘Hallows’ meaning saints and ‘Eve’ being the night before).
So the word Halloween, or Hallowe’en from Celtic tradition, means ‘hallowed’ or ‘sacred’ evening. It is the night before the celebration of the dead; those who have gone before us. One can see why all of the modern traditions of ghouls and goblins at Halloween have evolved. It’s a night that can be viewed as kind of creepy.
So what does all this have to do with our October Missional themes of gratitude, celebration, and appreciation anyway? Well, Halloween is in fact quite a celebration.
Not only does it help us connect with our neighbours, which is becoming rarer these days, it is also meant to help us remember those who have left us good examples of how to live.
I can think of many people that I would like to try to emulate because of how they chose to live their lives. There have been so many good examples of lives well lived that are models for us to try and follow.
So at Halloween, maybe some interesting questions to ask ourselves are:
‘How will people think of us when we are gone?’
‘Will they want to follow the example we leave behind?’
‘Will we choose to live our lives in a way that’s different and will stand out?’
Maybe tonight, whether we are at work, at home or at a Halloween party, we can challenge ourselves to think about what kind of example we would like to be.
Maybe focusing on the meaning of Halloween might guide us as we continue to strive to be The Hand of God in the Heart of the City.
We thank you for the Saints now gone before us
whose faith defined their living and their dying;
those who loved you more than their own lives;
those who are still mirrors of your love.
We celebrate the saints who walk among us
rejoicing while they walk in your footsteps
making your name known in a fractured world
against injustice, prejudice, hatred, evil.
Lord, your grace shines in the lives of Saints.
We thank you for their example
their holy words.
Your Spirit inspired them.
Inspire us to be saints in our daily lives today
Adapted from here.