All Saints Day” is always celebrated on November 1, foll“owing the celebration of Halloween on October 31. The two are interconnected.
Halloween began as the Pagan “Feast of the Dead”. Some historians trace Halloween to the Pagan “Sanshein” (Sows in) or “Summer’s End”. Long ago, people thought that the end of the summer, which marked the end of the growing season, was also the time, when evil spirits and the departed souls of the dead, which could hurt and harm, could more easily move into the realm of this world.
Added to this thought, was the practice in Ireland and Scotland in celebrating, by having young people dress up in costumes and go house to house and recite songs in exchange for food. At this time, at “Summer’s End” (October 31), it was also believed, that the evil sprits and departed souls of the dead that had entered the world, could now be warded off by human wanderers dressed in disguise. To this was added the playing of pranks and giving credit to evil spirits and supernatural beings. All of this has now become a part of the celebration of Halloween, on October 31.
The Christian Church responded by instituting “All Saints Day”, being celebrated on November 1, by Pope Gregory III (731-741). The Church wanted Christians to stop focusing on the dead and evil spirits, and instead, focus on Christ and the Resurrection, and the Saints. A “Saint” is one of the faithful, or a holy one, (especially one who has run the good race and fought the good fight, and been called home before us). With “All Saints Day” celebrated on November 1, “Summer End” then became, “All Hallows Eve” – the eve before “All Saints Day”. Isn’t it interesting that the world has kept the celebration of Halloween (Without Christ and the Resurrection) and also, that the Christian Church has kept the celebration “All Saints Day” and even made the First Sunday in November “All Saints Sunday”?
We as Lutherans consider all the faithful of the past, the present, and the future, to be a Saint, or a holy one of God. What makes us holy is not what we do, but rather, the faith our God has given to us, and we have received by His grace. We as Christians celebrate the “Communion of Saints” each Sunday in the Divine Service, as the Kingdom of Glory unites with the Kingdom of Grace in, with, and under Christ.
The fallen and broken world will always try to convince us Christians that we are to focus on the darkness of the dead and evil sprits that can hurt and harm us, causing us to live in doubts and fear. Our God would instead, have us as Christians not live in doubts and fear. But rather, in peace, with faith and trust in our God’s words and promises, and our Lord Jesus Christ’s victories over: sin, Satan and all the evil Spirits of darkness, and even death and the power of the grave, on the Cross and at the Empty tomb. Since we are “children of the Light”, our God would have live in the Light (Christ), and not in darkness, ever reminding us that Light is always more powerful than darkness, that darkness always gives way to Light, and that there is no darkness in this life and world so dark, that His Light and love cannot over come it and over power it.
Have a Great November Pastor Brad Rick