Per Fidem Intrepidus means "Fearless Through Faith". My courage isn't my own, it comes from the Holy Spirit, it's my faith in God and my personal savior Christ Jesus that calms my fears and allows me to move forward in this fallen world. Personally I'm afraid of a lot of stuff, but having the faith that Jesus adopted me as his little, sin filled, brother keeps me going.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Can A Christian Celebrate Halloween?

The easy answer to the question 'Can a Christian celebrate Halloween' is "It depends" Unfortunately that's also the hard answer. 

The word Halloween comes from "All Hallows Eve", it was the night before All Saints Day (All Hallows Day)  where the man-made saints of the Catholic church were worshiped. At some point the tradition of going door to door requesting small cakes in exchange for prayers for the dead relatives of the house became part of the ritual and eventually became today's 'Trick or Treat'.

Of course an already pre-existing holiday was hijacked by the Catholic church, the Irish holiday of Samhain (pronounced sow-en because that's what it was originally called (Sauin). As for the spelling? Got me, I'm not Irish). Samhain is the shortened version of the Irish word Mí na Samhna which quite literally means "November" and is the celebration of the end of summer, which was a popular celebration among the Gaelic peoples. Samhain marks the end of summer, flocks are brought down from the hills and a great many animals are killed - you can store meat, but live animals have to be fed and winter is a time of near famine for the Irish. Strong breeding stock is separated from the flocks/herds and the rest are slaughtered. When this is complete it's party time. Samhain was celebrated with bonfires (because bonfires and parties always go well together) called samhnagan and religious ceremonies grew up around the celebrations. One of the many ancient Celtic religions beliefs during the time of Samhain is that the doorways to the Otherworld opened enough for fairies and the dead to communicate with us. 

When the Irish and Scottish immigrated enmass to America they brought their holidays and traditions with them, and there were a lot of them, none of which had anything to do with witches, warlocks, zombies, ghosts... well maybe ghosts a little, but mostly what the neopagan would call the fae folk: fairies, brownies elves gnomes. 

You might be saying "Talking with the dead? We can't talk with the dead!" and you'd be right. The parable of Lazarus and the rich man (Luke 16:19-31) we are told that there's not a veil between the living and the dead, and between heaven and hell, but a huge chasm that no one can cross. And we are warned quite plainly to not even attempt to speak with the dead.
Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists, for you will be defiled by them. I am the Lord your God. (Leviticus 19:31)
As for the person who turns to ghosts and spirits, to play the harlot after them, I will also set My face against that person and will cut him off from among his people (Leviticus 20:6)
There are actually quite a few verses about spirits and witchcraft, but trying to contact the dead is terrifying, because the dead can't speak with you, but other, more evil things can. So why would a Christian even want to celebrate Halloween? For one thing it's huge, it's one of the biggest celebrations in the United States, then again it's a very very worldly occasion;
15 Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. 17 The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever. (1 John 2:15-17)
Paul also had something to say about it. Back in Paul's time animals were sacrificed to pagan Gods, after the sacrifice the meat was sold at local markets, and since sacrificial animals were cared for better than the other animals the meat was much better. The question arose whether a Christian should eat that meat. Paul said
25 Eat anything that is sold in the meat market without asking questions for conscience’ sake; 26 for the earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains. (1 Cor 10:25-26)
Or basicly "Go ahead and eat it because it originally comes from God, and God makes good stuff" but then considering the religious aspect he added 
28 But if anyone says to you, “This is meat sacrificed to idols,” do not eat it, for the sake of the one who informed you, and for conscience’ sake; 29 I mean not your own conscience, but the other man’s; for why is my freedom judged by another’s conscience? (1 Cor 10: 28-29)
 or simply "If it freaks someone out, it's not worth it." But it all ends up with
Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. (1 Cor 10:31)
We are free in Christ to celebrate as we wish as long as we do it for the glory of God. However if someone who doesn't understand that freedom, or our celebrating may cause him to stumble, don't do it. And again if you don't feel right about it, don't do it.

Personally I kind of like Halloween, mostly one trip around the block with the munchkins and the smiling Jack O' Lantern's soft flickering glow on a cool autumn evening. Maybe I'll carve one up and set it on the patio so the granddaughter and I can enjoy it while we eat the pumpkin seeds we roasted. We'll watch the candle light flicker in the dark while we sing a few songs from Sunday school. But that's about it. I know too many lives ruined by satanic ritual wrapped in neo-pagan frivolity. I've seen dozens of lives fall apart due to drug addiction, alcoholism, sexually transmitted disease, paranoia, suicide, all of them got into it for 'fun' and had some fun, for a while. Then it got real. A few folks I know were saved and tell horrific tales of demonic influences and the terror that the ouiji board brings (I'll do a post on those things). I've been to some really great city-wide parties but among the fun is an undercurrent of hate that scares me, I mean really really scares me. 

So if you go by my house on October 31st you'll see it is dark, no one will answer the door, but if you come around back you may hear "Jesus loves me this I know, 'cause the bible tells me so..." 

I can't tell you whether to celebrate halloween or not, nor how, only the Holy Spirit can do that. and that's why the right answer is "It depends"

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