Good actions give strength to ourselves and inspire good actions in others.
My friend and pen pal Chaplain Jim, deployed and far from home, had some interesting thoughts to share about Halloween. Who would have thought that inspirational people and role models had anything to do with Halloween? I certainly hope that I have lived a good and inspirational life for my children, friends and family. I’ve learned from the best…my mother, Trini. I guess it does work.
From Chaplain James Lewis:
While it may still be a mystery what J.K.Rowling might mean with “Hallows,” outside of her writing the meaning of the word that many might wonder about this time of year is pretty easy to find. “Hallow-een” is a derivative of the old word “hallows,” meaning “saints,” and a contraction of “evening”– sometimes written “e’en.” “Halloween” is a conglomeration of a range of religious festivals, to include pagan “harvest festivals,” and “Samhain,” a Celtic tradition in which the veil between this world and the world of the dead is thought to be most thin and permeable. That range also includes a Christian version in which it is the evening before the celebration of all the saints/ HALLOWS day, hence “All HALLOWS- e’en,” shortened to “HALLOWEEN.”
So if you’ve ever thought it better for your church to “celebrate” this time of year with a seemingly innocuous “Harvest Festival” rather than “Halloween”– think carefully on that! A “harvest festival” is clearly a pagan festival, while “Halloween” is a solidly CHRISTIAN word! And if we believe what the scriptures clearly teach, that Christ has VICTORY over death, then a reminder that death is no real enemy, as the “spooky” celebrations of Halloween imply, seems to make more sense that to be afraid of death!
Another way to “redeem” Halloween, if you were to think it needed redemption, is to celebrate with your kids those saints or “hallows” who have inspired you across your life. In some traditions, saints, or HALLOWS, are a collection of specific super-heroes of the faith– something like “The Justice League,” or “The Avengers” in a spiritual sense. In other traditions, all who are faithful unto the end are celebrated as “all HALLOWS.”
So who are the saints or “HALLOWS” who have inspired you over the years, whom you try to emulate, to say “I want to be like _________ when I grow up”? If any of those HALLOWS in your life are still living, I’d encourage you to send them a note to let them know what they’ve meant to you, and to share your appreciation while you can. It can both mean a lot to those who have inspired you, and can remind you of your own inspiring HALLOWS, and what you strive for in your life.
Remember too, that you are (or should be?) one of those Hallows/inspiring saints for YOUR kids, and for the other kids and people in your life– are you living to be an inspiration to them? Whether you think about it or not, your kids and others ARE looking to you, and you ARE “inspiring” others whether you are trying to or not. You may be inspiring them in saintly, hallowing ways– or you may be “inspiring” toward less holy pursuits, values, decisions and living.
Reflect for a moment on what you ARE inspiring your kids and others in your life toward– Are you sure that’s the inspiration you WANT to be, or that Jesus wants you to be?