This week we are looking at how the information in Part 1 and Part 2 tie together. If you have not read parts 1 and 2 yet, please do so now so you know what I'm talking about. ;)
Part 1: Jack-O-Lantern, Stingy Jack, Jack the Smith
Part 2: Origins - All Hallows Eve, All Saints Day
In part 2, I was saying how All Saints Day has been 'Christianized' from pagan roots. Sometimes people get confused and say that "Halloween has been Christianized just like Christmas" when it's not Halloween that was 'Christianized' at all. Halloween is All Hallows Eve-October 31st. All Saints Day-November 1st is the holliday that was 'Christianized,' not All Hallows Eve. The pagan traditions may not be (to be perfectly honest I cannot claim to know much of anything about how All Saints Day is currently celebrated) in use for All Saints Day, but they are definately in full force for All Hallows Eve.
Lets recap and tie up some loose ends:
You remember the story of Jack the Smith (Stingy Jack) from Part 1? How did it go from a legend about a damned soul wandering the earth with a lighted turnip to the carved pumpkins we now know as Jack-O-Lanterns? All Hallows Eve was a night when the spiritual barriers between worlds were thought to be the thinnest and all manner of evil spirits were thought to be roaming the earth. Irish villagers were concerned about the spirits of past occupants moving back into their former homes homes so they did 2 things... They would carve gruesome faces into vegetables, primarily turnips, representing the death grimace on the Devil's face when he lay in the road waiting for Jack, to scare the spirits away; and just in case that didn't work, they left food out to placate the spirits so they would be content and move on. The Irish Potato Famine caused a massive influx of Irish immigrants to America, where turnips were not as available as pumpkins. The Irish brought their traditions with them and pumpkins became the new turnips- the new "Jack's Lantern" to frighten away the maleviolent spirits. That is what the Jack-O-Lantern is; the devil's grimace carved into a pumpkin to scare off the spirits of the dead.
In part 2, I mentioned the Manx children dressed as scary beings representative of the demons and ghosts and went door to door with carved Jack-O-Lantern turnips. Asking for offerings of sweets and money.
The Jack-O-Lantern is the grimace of Satan, the representation of a damned soul, namely Jack the Smith.
The children dressed in costume represent ghosts and demons.
The candy handed out represents the food set out to appease the ghosts and demons so they go away.
The meaning of "Trick or treat" is the ghosts and demons saying 'I will play a nasty trick on your household if you don't give me a treat to appease me.'
How should we as Christians respond to this information? First of all I think that we should be deeply disturbed that we have been tricked into thinking it's harmless fun. I think, as always, that we should see what the Bible has to say in light of this new information. I think that we should prayerfully consider our response to this 'holliday' and have a soft heart toward God and a willingness to please Him with our decision.
In closing I'd like to leave you with a few scriptures to pray over in light of this information. This is not an exhaustive list by any means. You should definately study up on what the Bible has to say regarding the devil, sorcery/witchcraft, and what things we should emulate and practice.
1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
Deuteronomy 18:9-12 When you come into the land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abomination to the LORD, and because of these abominations the LORD your God drives them out from before you.
Ephesians 6:12-13 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Joshua 24:15 And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.
And if it seems offensive to you to serve the LORD, choose once and for all whom you will serve; the gods of your ancestors, or the gods of those in whose land you reside... but as for me and my lineage, we will serve the LORD.
Part 4: My Personal Beliefs
Respectful, calm comments, spoken with Christ's love, are welcome. Any comment that comes across as rude, disrespectful, evil, mean spirited, or playing 'devil's advocate' literally, will be deleted at my discretion. It's my blog and I reserve the right to delete as I see fit.