The phrase “evil in the sight of the Lord” has caught my attention. It is a very appropriate question to ask about any activity we support or participate in.
2 Kings 23:37 And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his fathers had done. KJV
The other question is do our actions “glorify the Lord”?
Ps 86:12 I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart: and I will glorify thy name for evermore. KJV
The phrase “evil in the sight of the Lord” is found 44 times in the KJV and 55 times in the ESV. If something is repeated that often then I think we should pay special attention to what was evil in the Lord’s sight.
1 Kings 11:6 And Solomon did evil in the sight of the Lord, and went not fully after the Lord, as did David his father. KJV
1 Kings 14:22-24
22 And Judah did evil in the sight of the Lord, and they provoked him to jealousy with their sins which they had committed, above all that their fathers had done.
23 For they also built them high places, and images, and groves, on every high hill, and under every green tree.
24 And there were also sodomites in the land: and they did according to all the abominations of the nations which the Lord cast out before the children of Israel. KJV
1 Kings 15:26 And he did evil in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the way of his father, and in his sin wherewith he made Israel to sin. KJV
1 Kings 16:30-31
30 And Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the Lord above all that were before him.
31 And it came to pass, as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam… KJV
Notice the phrase “as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins” is that not what we often hear? “Oh, What’s the big deal?” “You’re making a mountain out of a molehill.” Are we not guilty of thinking that it is a “light thing” to celebrate Halloween?
When we take a holiday like Halloween and try to clean it up might we not be guilty like Jehoram of still doing “evil in the sight of the Lord” even when we think we have cleaned up the holiday or provided an alternative for it. Did we just “remove the image but cleave to the sin“? Took away the skeletons, ghosts and witches but kept the sin?
2 Kings 3:2-3 2 And he wrought evil in the sight of the Lord; but not like his father, and like his mother: for he put away the image of Baal that his father had made. 3 Nevertheless he cleaved unto the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which made Israel to sin; he departed not therefrom. KJV
2 Chron 33:2 But did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, like unto the abominations of the heathen, whom the Lord had cast out before the children of Israel. KJV
Carved images – Jack o’Lanterns?
2 Chron 33:22 But he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, as did Manasseh his father: for Amon sacrificed unto all the carved images which Manasseh his father had made, and served them; KJV
Many Christians discount the fact that Halloween might still be a celebrated pagan holiday beyond the obvious decorations, costumes and “Trick or Treating.” Some try to discount the truth of the ancient pagan Druid celebrations that occurred during that time which the Catholic church tried to “redeem” by All-Saints Day and All-Hallows Eve. Many more say that the holiday Halloween has lost all the Druid worship associated with Samhain.
In medieval Ireland, Samhain became the principal festival, celebrated with a great assembly at the royal court in Tara, lasting for three days. After being ritually started on the Hill of Tlachtga, a bonfire was set alight on the Hill of Tara, which served as a beacon, signaling to people gathered atop hills all across Ireland to light their ritual bonfires. The custom has survived to some extent, and recent years have seen a resurgence in participation in the festival.
Bonfires played a large part in the festivities celebrated down through the last several centuries, and up through the present day in some rural areas of the Celtic nations and the diaspora. Villagers were said to have cast the bones of the slaughtered cattle upon the flames. In the pre-Christian Gaelic world, cattle were the primary unit of currency and the center of agricultural and pastoral life. Samhain was the traditional time for slaughter, for preparing stores of meat and grain to last through the coming winter. The word ‘bonfire‘, or ‘bonefire‘ is a direct translation of the Gaelic tine cnámh. With the bonfire ablaze, the villagers extinguished all other fires. Each family then solemnly lit its hearth from the common flame, thus bonding the families of the village together. Often two bonfires would be built side by side, and the people would walk between the fires as a ritual of purification. Sometimes the cattle and other livestock would be driven between the fires, as well. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samhain
However, a simple search will show that Samhain is still well celebrated and is even making a comeback of sorts. There are Wicca Covens and Druids that are organized within 20 miles of my house (that was very surprising to me since I live in the middle of nowhere!).
Many of the elements of our ancient festival have turned into secular folk customs. The candles, costumes, ghosts, and spooks are all dim memories of a time when people welcomed their beloved dead back to their homes and propitiated spirits with offerings.
For your Samhain, try one or more of these rituals:
~ Think of the candy you give to young trick-or-treaters as offerings to the ancestors, who return as the children of a new generation. Imagine that with each treat, you also give a blessing.
~ Gather your friends and family and set out pictures of your beloved dead. Light a candle (perhaps in a jack-o-lantern), then tell their stories and give thanks for what they’ve given you. Gaze into the candle flame, envisioning the renewal you want to support in your own life, community, and the world. Share your visions, write or draw them, or set out objects on your altar that represent the rebirth you hope for.
~ Share food and leave a bit of each dish on the altar (or outside, near the compost) as an offering for the ancestors.
Halloween is a time when powerful forces converge. Our most sacred holiday is also, unfortunately, the time when anti-witch propaganda may abound.
I believe the way to respond to fear and misinformation is to tell the truth about what we do. Halloween gives us a great opportunity to educate the public by speaking at your child’s school or giving an interview to the local press. In 25 years of public life as a witch, what amazes me is not the prejudice I’ve encountered, but how many open and supportive people I’ve met. http://www.beliefnet.com/Faiths/Pagan-and-Earth-Based/2000/10/The-Witches-New-Year.aspx?p=2
If that doesn’t convince you that there is a problem how about this:
Samhain, “Summer’s End,” the Celtic New Year, the Blood Harvest, Dia de los Muertos, Day of the Dead… Death – a constant source of mystery and intrigue that beckons us to journey beyond the comfort of our five senses and into the realm of the shadow.
In the twilight-dusk of the year, the stillness of Wintertime approaches. The days grow shorter — and the nights deeper. We come together with intent, to pay heed to ancient whispers, voices that urge us to prepare for the cold, and the long nights to come. Over head, the Frost Moon waxes to Full while the Earth drowses in Her first stages of sleep. In the flickering candlelight, by the warmth of the fire, together we slip into a space of darkness, and there find the embrace of the shadow.
This event provides a special opportunity for you to take an active role to transform yourself. Out of respect for the rest of the community, you must be willing to take part in the ritual in order to attend the event. Together we will build the container in which to conduct the work. We will not harm you, but we will try to unsettle you, and touch you emotionally. We will ask you to face your fears, confront your Shadow, and emerge from the Cauldron renewed. PLEASE plan to be responsible for your own emotional balance and grounding. We will, of course, provide space in the ritual for appropriate grounding, but cannot be responsible for the consequences you take away from the experience.
Samhain – Nov 8, 2008 http://www.gaiaswomb.com/event-nov08.htm
Therefore, the excuse that Halloween has lost all its evil connotations is just wrong. However, that does not mean that as Christians we should live in fear about Halloween. We who are Christians are under the protective hand of the Lord and not even a hair of our head will be harmed unless He allows it.
1 Peter 3:12 For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil. KJV
Should we not participate by not “Trick or Treating” ourselves yet use the opportunity to give out candy and gospel tracts in order to be a witness? I think that is over the line into participating. Is that not “bidding them God speed”?
2 John 10-11
10 If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed:
11 For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds. KJV
2 John 10-11
10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take him into your house or welcome him. 11 Anyone who welcomes him shares in his wicked work. NIV
Rom 12:9 Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. KJV
So is Halloween “Evil in the Sight of the Lord” or “Glorifying the Lord”?