All Hallow’s Eve or Halloween

The word ‘hallow’ means saint. Hallow is just an alternative form of the word ‘holy’. We use it in our Lord’s Prayer: hallowed be Thy name. Halloween is simply a contraction for All Hallows Eve, the  evening preceding All Saints’ Day. This was fixed as 1st November in the late 700s, and is the celebration of the victory of the saints over evil and darkness. It reminds us that though Jesus has finished His work, we have not finished ours. Jesus struck the decisive blow against evil, but we have the privilege of working in the mopping up operation. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. John 1.5

Century by century the Christian faith has rolled back the works of darkness, ignorance, fear, and superstition bringing light and love

Our Medieval ancestors knew that after the darkness comes the dawn; for a moment there is darkness but then there is light. It is why they were able to mock the Devil. The custom arose of portraying Satan in a ridiculous red suit with horns and a tail. He is ridiculed because he has lost the battle with Jesus and he no longer has power over us. The stone gargoyles that were placed on the churches of old had the same meaning. They symbolized the Church ridiculing the enemy. They stick out their tongues and make faces at those who would assault the Church. Gargoyles are not demonic; they are believers ridiculing the defeated demonic army.

Similarly, on All Hallows’ Eve the custom arose of mocking the demonic realm by dressing children in costumes. Because the power of Satan has been broken once and for all, our children can mock him by dressing up like ghosts, goblins and superheroes. The fact that we can dress our children this way shows our supreme confidence in the utter defeat of Satan by Jesus Christ – we have NO FEAR! (The American tradition of trick or treating wasn’t recorded until 1927.  It probably originated as something fun for the kids to do especially when sugar and sweets were in short supply and were really special. Like anything else, this custom can be perverted into something more sinister.))

"He who sits in the heavens laughs; The Lord ridicules them" says Psalm 2. Let us join in His holy laughter, and mock the enemies of Christ on Halloween.

On Saturday 26th October St John’s Milborne Port is holding a Pumpkin Festival. If you would like to carve a happy pumpkin to fill the church with light, please bring it the evening before for display.

Rev Sarah

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