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Davis: Giving kids candy isn't Satanic pact

link Clyde Davis

The reality, for most Christians, at least of liturgical background, is that Halloween is simply the day before All Saints’ Day, a day for the veneration of the numerous saints who serve as examples and models for our faith.

The very name, Halloween, is a distorted version of All Hallow’s Even(ing).

Opinions vary widely as to how, or whether at all, Christians ought to celebrate the day, depending on which version of its meaning one cares to subscribe. Certainly many churches have chosen to go the middle route by providing “trunk or treat,” distributing goodies to all comers in the church parking lot from the trunks of cars.

Given the tangible and this-worldly possibility of tainted candy from door to door trick or treating, that seems like a sensible choice. Not all evil abroad is supernatural, and the occasional story that made the rounds when I was a child is multiplied in today’s world to the point one really must take the safe road.

The pagan, or nature worship, celebration which marked this time of year in numerous cultures provided a challenge to the early Christian missionaries, one which they met with a familiar response of compromise, combining this celebration with the concept of a celebration of all saints, with the later addition of All Souls’ Day, Nov. 2, to mark the passing of all loved ones.

The appropriateness of this was heightened by the fact that many cultures would hold a ritual venerating and memorializing their ancestors at this time of year.

It’s worth noting that paganism and wicca are not devil worship as many conjecture, but that they are forms of nature worship. It’s also worth noting that ancestor veneration is not the same as serving a “god of the dead,” a concept sometimes mistakenly associated with Halloween.

Indeed, there is a sense in which Christians, for the most part, honor those who have gone before us (the communion of Saints,) and though nature itself is not worshipped, it is to be respected and treated with love as God’s gift, a practice all too many have failed in.

In this particular season, as you may have noticed while we wait for election day, it’s all too easy to find misquoting and misrepresentation. I suspect that the prevalence of ghoulish trappings and zombie motifs has nothing to do with any of the concepts behind All Hallow’s Eve, pagan seasonal celebrations, or ceremonies to honor the deceased, but far more to do with opportunities to sell stuff to people — the god of the commercially viable market. Zombies are, to kids, far more appealing than a truth that is rather tame.

As a professing Christian, I worship neither nature nor my ancestors, though I honor both. However, for those who do, it is not the same as a pact with Satan.

Clyde Davis is a Presbyterian pastor and teacher at Clovis High School. He can be contacted at:

[email protected]