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I would like to know your feelings about celebrating Halloween as a Christian. I have refrained from celebrating Halloween for a number of years, simply because I believe that God doesn't condone fear (2 Timothy 1:7). Unfortunately, I cannot find my notes from a teaching I did on the origins of Halloween and Christianity, so I would like to hear from you.

-- Anonymous, September 29, 2003


We have an anual tradition at our church. We dress up in wacky costumes, one year I was minny mouse with the dress and the ears, my daughter painted herself orange and put on a pumking costume;-) We then go to the nursing home that I am the chaplain of. And we and our church members pass out candy to the residence and staff. By doing this we teach Christian concepts of being a servant, sharing, letting go of fear (when you are black 5'10 and dressed in a minnie mouse outfit you have no fear.) As a matter of fact we started talking about it in church today. The residences love it when we come by, they laugh and laugh. And they love the candy. They seldom get anything and they love the fact we come over on Halloween.

I would encourage Christians to be creative and do something for others on Halloween and do dress up. I am sure there is a nursing home or hospital in your area. They probably will not let you distribute candy but they would love a visit.

Also look within your church and community, find families that have loved ones fighting in Iraq. Take some treats to the families, have your church make cards of love for them. We as Christians can claim any holiday and make it a God day.

-- Anonymous, September 29, 2003


Halloween (Hallowed Evening.....or All Hallow's Eve....

November 1, "All Hollows Day" (or "All Saints Day"), is a Catholic day of observance in honor of saints. But, in the 5th century BC, in Celtic Ireland, summer officially ended on October 31. The holiday was called Samhain (sow-en), the Celtic New year. It was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth. In addition to causing trouble and damaging crops, Celts thought that the presence of the otherworldly spirits made it easier for the Druids, or Celtic priests, to make predictions about the future. For a people entirely dependent on the volatile natural world, these prophecies were an important source of comfort and direction during the long, dark winter.

The Romans adopted the Celtic practices as their own (like they did with Easter and Christmas - but that's another discussion). But in the first century AD, Samhain was assimilated into celebrations of some of the other Roman traditions that took place in October, such as their day to honor Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit and trees. The symbol of Pomona is the apple, which might explain the origin of our modern tradition of bobbing for apples on Halloween.

The Romans observed the holiday of Feralia, intended to give rest and peace to the departed. Participants made sacrifices in honor of the dead, offered up prayers for them, and made oblations to them. The festival was celebrated on February 21, the end of the Roman year. In the 7th century, Pope Boniface IV introduced All Saints' Day to replace the pagan festival of the dead. It was observed on May 13. Later, Gregory III changed the date to November 1. The Greek Orthodox Church observes it on the first Sunday after Pentecost.

But, Halloween also has occult overtones (Witches, Demons, Ghosts, Skeletons, and gory costumes). As a new father, these are not the images I wish to fill my son's mind with at an early age.

Many Christians simply host a costume party on that evening and restrict the costumery to non-monsters.....Just as we call Easter Sunday (A corruption of the name Ishtar) Resurrection Sunday.

I don't know what we do about Christmas; Jesus was born during the summer.

-- Anonymous, September 29, 2003

Parson Harper-

Say it ain't so! You concluding sentience, "I don't know what we do about Christmas; Jesus was born during the summer.", if accepted by US retail merchants would create an economic earthquake since few purchases would be made at the end of the calendar year :-) QED

-- Anonymous, September 29, 2003

When Saint Paul visited Athens and went to Mars Hill, like everyone else he marveled at the structures and the statues he found there. While there, he observed an altar with the inscription to an "Unknown God". (Acts 17:22-24).

Paul realized the greatness and cultural excellence the Greeks had achieved, so he did not belittle nor put them down. He rather appealed to their intellect and used it to teach. Thus, he was able to share and teach the Faith. By doing so he was able to also show them a "more excellent way. (I Corinthians 12:31).

Although Councils are assembled by the Bishop of Rome, they are Ecumenical in nature and include the entire Christian Church. Around 325 AD when the such a Council was held--The Council of Nicaea--The Church put its major Festivals and Holidays (holy days) in place. Many of these were superimposed over existing feasts or holidays. Thus, teaching pagan nations "a more excellent way."

Even though these feasts, which include Christmas and Easter, were superimposed over existing holidays, biblical, historical and astronomical records were used to ensure the accuracy of their placement. If we do a more thorough research we will find their placement to be amazingly accurate, indeed.

Despite what we sometimes hear or what we have often been told, Halloween (All Hallows Eve) is a Christian and not a pagan holiday (holy day). I'm a saint and you're a saint, we are "Hallows", All.

One other historical event also gives us cause to celebrate Halloween. On October 31, 1517 the Protestant Movement was born, when Dr. Martin Luther nailed his Ninety-five Theses to the door of the church at Wittenberg.

From this document the notion of the "Priesthood of All Believers" was formed. Dr. Luther asserted that not only is every believer a saint, but that we have it on biblical authority that each believer is a priest as well.

-- Anonymous, September 29, 2003

Parson Harper: Do what you will with hallowen but leave Christmas as it is. All my life, I have shared the day we celebrate as the Lord's birthday, Dec 25. I ruined my mother's Christmas 70 years ago and I LIKE being a CHRISTMAS BABY. My wife always celebrates my half-birthday in July also to make up for the combined Christmas/Birthday gifts. Just curious, does anyone else on this board share the Lord's birthday?

BE Blessed

-- Anonymous, September 30, 2003

"I ruined my mother's Christmas 70 years ago and I LIKE being a CHRISTMAS BABY"

Somehow, I don't think you ruined her Christmas.......

Lest I sound like the Grinch, I DO like Christmas. My only wish is that we could get the rest of the world to act like Christians the rest of the year.

-- Anonymous, September 30, 2003

Ah, Parson Harper -

Does your backpeddaling on December 25 mean I can look forward to reviecing a gift from you on or before Christmas Day? I could really use some more silk, hand-crafted bow ties to compliment my business attire :-) QED

-- Anonymous, September 30, 2003

Well, I suppose if I can't spell receiving correctly I shouldn't receive anything. Parson Harper please do not hold my spelling skills or the lack thereof against my request list :-) QED

-- Anonymous, September 30, 2003

I look forward to Halloween every year. When I was growing up, the day was a day when the community shared treats and the adults, especially the seniors, looked forward to the evening so they could receive a visit from the neighborhood's children. My friends and I would actually draw a map of where we would go and carry with us kitchen trash bags for our booty. We'd chuckle at the 2 year old who was a pumpkin or a bunny that year and laugh at the parent who was trying to keep their little kids from eating all of their candy while they trick or treated. Folks even decorated their lawns in creative ways. Some people played tricks and some people gave treats. The evening was for fun and community. Kids could hang out until 10p, the parents got to be kids again with their kids, the rich folks gave king-size candy bars or money, the older folks handed out homemade cookies, and the health concious (like my mother) gave passers by toothbrushes and fruit. People actually got offended if no one came by their house. Like all things, what you put into something is what you will get out of it. Halloween was a positive experience for me. It still is. I am going pumpkin picking in two weeks and I am looking forward to the kids dropping by on the 31st. Hopefully, I can get rid of all of my candy. :)

-- Anonymous, October 01, 2003

For my friends in the Atlanta area the following URL may be of interest http://www.candler.emory.edu/PDF/2003reformationday.pdf QED

-- Anonymous, October 04, 2003

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