Last year, Forbes anticipated that Americans would spend $9 billion on Halloween related purchases, up from $3.3 billion in 2005. This years, its predicted that Americans will spend half a billion dollars on costumes — for their pets! It seems clear that Halloween is a major holiday.
Much has been said about Halloween’s pagan origins, so its understandable why many Christians still have an aversion to the holiday. And regardless of its pagan origins, its clear that many people see Halloween as an occasion to summon evil and darkness; even if it is just in the form of lawn decorations and costumes. For this reason, I’m still not a fan of Halloween. If St. Paul admonishes us to think about things that are noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable1, why would I relish a decapitated head on a neighbor’s patio?
Whatever your view on Halloween is, the Christian ought to be fully participating in the Christian holiday.
Of course, the holiday I am referring to is All Hallows’ Day, or All Saints’ Day — of which Halloween is simply the “eve” of.
Every culture must have its heroes. American culture has plenty of them. Whereas once they were probably historical figures like George Washington or Buffalo Bill, today, they’re more likely to be some actor, or athlete, or perhaps one of those celebrities that no one is quite sure why they are famous. And our culture is really good at teaching us just how great these heroes are. They’re on every magazine, every TV show, and every cereal box. Its almost impossible to avoid.
But the Christian should have different heroes, and luckily for us, we have 2000 years of heroes just waiting to be discovered.
The history of the Christian faith is filled with saints — holy ones — both men and women, who each have lifetimes of heroic feats. These are the heroes we ought to hold dear in our hearts. We are all called to be like Christ; and the recorded lives of the many believers who give their life for the service of the Kingdom of God all serve as portraits of that Christ-like living.
It is vitally important for every Christian to be inspired and to learn from the brothers and sisters in Christ who have come before us. We learn from their wisdom, their experience, their trials, and their faithfulness.
For this reason, I urge you, dear brother or sister, to keep the “Hallow” in “Halloween”. All Saints Day is an occasion to remember and celebrate the faith of the holy ones who have come before us and allow their lives to encourage us toward faithfulness.
Not only on November 1st should we remind ourselves and our families and friends about the saints of God, but make it a practice throughout the year (some churches do it weekly!).
Below I have some recommended resources for remembering the heroic lives of God’s holy ones throughout the ages. There are obviously many, many resources, but here are some I can attest to their quality.
Christian Heroes: Then and Now
A series of books aimed at older children. These books offer detailed accounts of the lives of more modern saints like George Muller, Cameron Townsend, David Livingstone, Amy Carmichael, and more. These would probably even serve an adult well as an introduction to some of these saints own works.
Church History For Kids
A series of 4 books aimed at small children. These are simple overviews of the lives of St. Augustine, Charles Spurgeon, Amy Carmichael, and of course, Martin Luther.
Saints for Girls/Boys
This is a recent pair of books that I discovered that seem neat to hand to a girl or boy that gives them small descriptions and stories of saints throughout history.
Women of Faith: Saints and Martyrs of the Christian Faith
This is a beautifully illustrated book that seems fit for a junior high girl. Overview of ancient saints and details of their lives written to inspire and enlighten the young reader.
MOVIE: Hacksaw Ridge
Of course, for the more mature Christian (by that I mean “old”), movies like Hacksaw Ridge can create images of the heroic Christian life. Hacksaw Ridge tells the story of a Christian pacifist who wants to serve his country in the armed forces without the use of violence. His bravery and dedication to his fellow man will inspire the viewer to live boldly for Christ.