Full disclosure: Seven years ago in the Nov. 1, 2012 Volume IV Number 9 Perspectives article, I began with these words, slightly updated to fit this year’s calendar:
Today is October 31, observed in our country as Halloween. In recent years I’ve become increasingly concerned with the growing focus on macabre manifestations and excessive expressions of spiritual darkness associated with Halloween.
My concern is that most celebrations of Halloween do not recognize what St. Paul said centuries ago: “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (Eph. 6:12)
Thankfully, October 31 is also observed by many Christians throughout the world as the Festival of the Reformation. Catalyzed by Martin Luther’s struggle with his personal faith and escalated by the Roman Catholic Church’s emphasis on salvation by works and purchase of indulgences, the Reformation claims October 31, 1517, as its date of origination. That’s the day Luther posted his 95 Theses against indulgences on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany.
Certainly not to be forgotten, November 1 is All Saints Day—an opportunity to give thanks to God for all believers in Christ who have gone on before us to an eternity of life in the presence of God himself. Our family, like yours, remembers those saints in whose footsteps we follow and with whom we will be reunited someday in heaven.
Those truths remain and my observations have not changed. On the contrary, my perspectives regarding these three days have intensified:
- The Reformation blessings of forgiveness, life, and salvation are gifts of God’s grace.
- Halloween observances need to become less pagan in character and costume.
- All Saints Day is an opportunity to remember loved ones who await our heavenly arrival.
Happy Reformation, Halloween, and All Saints Day! Observe them all, safely and reflectively, with joy and thankfulness in your heart!