In the wake of recent fears expressed by residents and local churches over the celebration of Halloween and the witches who appear in Harry Potter, I think the following thoughts should be considered.
The first day of November has always been called All Saints Day by the church. Historically, it is a day to remember the saints, the believers who have passed from this life to the next during the year.
Many of our churches celebrate those lives during their worship services on the Sunday nearest Nov. 1. Centuries ago, the Christians decided that the night before All Saints Day, namely the Eve of All Hallows or "Halloween," was an appropriate time to gather and have a party. The purpose of this was to make fun of the spirits of darkness and their manifestations in the Devil, in witches and the like.
In the Mexican culture it became known as the Day of the Dead, when relatives gathered in the local cemetery to feast beside the graves of loved ones and laugh in the face of Death.
The celebration for Christians in any culture was over the fact that the spirits of evil were powerless against the blood of Christ and that faith which can fend off and defeat satanic powers.
The party usually consisted of dressing up like those evil characters, scaring them off, and celebrating the light that prevails over darkness. An early purpose of the costumes was to fool the evil spirits so they would not recognize the Christians.
Rather than put the squelch on Halloween and the fun of a Harry Potter party, the celebration reminds us that we have chosen to wrestle with the dark side of this world, to face it head on and mock it. We have a God who breaks through the darkness, so we celebrate "with all the saints."
When parents dress themselves and their children next Halloween, they will hopefully interpret the significance of the occasion.
Stan Brown, Payson