What we call Halloween today was the final harvest celebration or summer’s end for the Celtic people. Samhain as it is called is the Celtic New Year and beginning of the dark half of the year. It’s considered a very magical time when the veil between the worlds is thinnest and the dead walk among the living. The Celts believed it was a time when the future could be most effectively predicted and so it was a time for divination and prophecy.
Beyond all the hype of what the Celts did this time of year, the question really should be what do the witches of today do on this night? Take it from an ex-witch who wants to give insight to the church so we can pray and minister effectively. In fact, many traditional witches do not like the stereotypical version of Halloween and many don’t answer their door on Halloween night. Altars are decorated with fall foliage, pumpkins, gourds and mums. Crone goddess images, candles and deceased ancestor’s photos or mementos are placed upon the altar. Time is spent to honor past loved ones and interact with them. The fire is kindled; parchment paper with what is desired to be rid of is thrown into its flames while chants rise into the night. Divinations such as black mirror scrying and crystal ball gazing are done. After all magical work is complete, the circle is closed and the feasting begins. There are also witches balls that one can attend. Witches dress in costume either who they were in a past life, desire to be in the next life or sometimes as gods and goddesses. Some incorporate a magic circle while others just the feast which can be as elaborate as a wedding.
Well you say there doesn’t seem to be anything mentioned about the gory stuff such as animal sacrifice or other criminal activity. And that’s right because contrary to popular belief, it’s not what’s commonly practiced. There are three major issues with partaking in this as well as any ritual. The first is the worship of other gods, in this case, the crone goddess and the god of the hunt. Exodus 20: 2-3 says "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery, You shall have no other gods before me.” The second is looking to other sources other than God for answers. 1 Samuel 15:23, “For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has rejected you as king." The third reason has to do with interaction with loved ones who have passed on. Luke 16:26 “And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.” Scripture reveals there is no crossing over between worlds.
So, what’s a Christian to do on Halloween night? Does one lock the doors, shut out the lights and pray for the night to end quickly? Do you think you’d find Jesus hiding in the back room avoiding trick or treaters? Or would we find him walking among the costumed children masquerading as the Obama’s and Twilight Belles of the night? (See Matthew 9:11-13)
If praying is the action you believe God has put on your heart, beware as the enemy is masked in his age old disguise as an angel of light. If he can convince you to pray for something that happened hundreds of years ago, then he has succeeded in keeping your prayers ineffective for today. Instead pray for those lost in spiritual darkness to come to know the God of Abraham, that they would desire Godly knowledge, and that the light of Jesus will overcome the darkness within. Pray for their revelation in Jesus’ death that conquered the grave.
What about your own kids dressing up in costumes? Kids love to dress up and pretend which in itself is harmless. Putting on a costume is like temporarily putting on the persona of the costume so use discernment in the costume choice. Many churches offer alternatives such as harvest parties which may prove to be a positive substitute. For an outreach approach, one of the powerful ones is Light the Night founded by Thunder Outreach is a great way to push back the darkness. Another such event is a well-lit praise block party with great food, snacks and with kids who may dress up in neon colors (no Halloween costumes), blow-up play rooms, Christian Karaoke and choreographed dance contests and even a DJ who is master of ceremonies who plays Christian praise music and maintains a Christian message.
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. (John 1:5)
(c) 10/11/10 By S.A. Tower