Three Day Fall Festival for the Church Part 1: All Hallows Eve
I find it super interesting that we have a fall festival in the church that we really do not celebrate. Traditionally the church has celebrated a group of holidays or a festival during the fall. Much like in the spring, the church has three consecutive days of holidays to celebrate. In the spring, the festival is Maudy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday. Our FALL FESTIVAL is All Hallows Eve, All Saint's Day, and All Soul's Day. Each day has a meaning and a reason for existing.
This week we are focusing on All Hallows Eve. If you following the church seasons, this festival of days ends a season of discipleship and focus on following Jesus by remembering those that have passed but lived lives following Jesus. This day has a lot of conflicting feelings for some Christians. Many may see it as conflicting with a feeling of pagan holidays. The truth is many religions seek to have time remembering the lives of those who have died. Christianity is no different. Christians seek to honor those who have lived extraordinary lives dedicated to serving Christ and for those who were part of the body. Christians believe the dead are with Christ. The church holds that those that have died are alive in Christ and await the Day of Resurrection. To honor their lives and celebrate our loved ones, we celebrate the fall festival.
Halloween was originally a day of prayer and fasting. Another way of seeing it was a day of preparation. When the Hebrew people were in the desert going to the mountain to see God, there was a time of preparation. As Christians, prayer and fasting are times when we refocus our lives on Christ. It is an intentional day of focusing on God. We spend time in prayer, scripture, and fasting. For prayer, we can take certain times of our day and do some praying. Traditionally some good times to prayer are in the morning, noon, and night. To work smarter, not harder, I may combine these times with my fasting. If I am abstaining from a certain type of food, I will pray before and after the meal, which I have fasted from something. If I am fasting and not eating a meal or not eating during a particular time period, I will use the times when I would eat (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) to pray and read scripture. I think of Jesus quoting scripture, "'It is written: Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God."' You can even set up spaces to pray and read scripture. I have a little desk with a cross and a candle where I read my bible.
(Don't worry if you light a candle on Halloween, no Sanderson sister will appear.)
It is really interesting that we today celebrate Halloween with an overindulgence of candy and monsters. If you would like to celebrate as a Christian and want to put a little more Jesus in your Halloween, maybe start practicing praying with your kids during the day. Remind them that this is a holiday and a festival of holidays centered on Jesus and those who follow him.