Our kids were pre-schoolers the last time we celebrated Halloween – and that was a long time ago. A couple of weeks ago, my friend Amber reminded me of a different side of Halloween. It’s not just another commercialized holiday (second only to Christmas in the US). Nor is it just for dressing up children in fun outfits (although that is one of the best parts of Halloween).
Nor is Halloween just about giving and getting large quantities of favorite candies…although this might be THE BEST PART of Halloween.Photo Credit: Twitter.com/erlc
Amber, still fairly new in town, was looking forward to Halloween to meet more of her neighbors. Over the years, we had separated our family from Halloween because of the darker side of the holiday (All Hallow’s Eve). I don’t think our kids missed out at all, really, but this year I have opened the door back up a bit…to meet more of our neighbors.
For the first time in two decades, we turned the porch light on, and had a basket of candy ready….and the children came. We marveled at their costumes and greeted their parents (and sometimes, grandparents). It was fun to chat with these little guys and then watch them meander on to the next house in their dressed-up otherness.
So that was Halloween 2015. No new friendships forged or anything…but we at least showed ourselves friendly.
Earlier today, I was reminded of the other side of October 31. Reformation Day. My husband’s mom, Julia, reads through a couple of devotionals each day as part of her Bible reading. On a visit with her this morning, she read to us the page below.Photo Credit: 30 Days to Change the Nation by D. James Kennedy
On this day, 498 years ago, Martin Luther stood up against a wrong done in the name of God. He challenged his beloved Catholic Church to stop certain practices of that day. Practices that drew people away from God really, rather than closer to Him. Practices, or indulgences, in particular, that communicated that we could actually buy our salvation or do service enough to earn our salvation from our sins.
He wrote 95 “theses” or indictments against the church and hammered that long list on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany. They were serious accusations and started with the first one below:
“When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, ‘Repent’ (Matthew 4:17), He willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.”
Because of Martin Luther’s protest, a reformation was birthed. Millions of believers worldwide “have submitted to God’s word as their highest authority (Sola Scriptura) and…that salvation is a gift given by God’s grace alone (Sola Gratia) through the instrument of faith alone (Sola Fide) in the death and resurrection of their one savior and mediator, Jesus Christ (Sola Christus), so that all glory would always redound to the Triune God alone (Sola Deo Gloria).” *
October 31 marks two days – Halloween and Reformation Day.
The first calls for dress-up. The second a call to stand up.
I’m sure Martin Luther took great courage in God’s Word as he stood firm in his understanding of it.
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God…and having done all, to stand firm.” – Apostle Paul, from Ephesians 6:10-20
Be safe out there if you’re still closing out the night. I’m thinking the kids won’t notice if a Butterfinger or Snickers bar is missing in the morning from their candy haul tonight…or could be, they will. It’s a risk. Good night.