Dear Glen Mar friends,
Halloween is coming, and All Saints' Weekend is here too! I love this time of year, and I love both of those celebrations, because I think of Halloween as "All Saints' Eve."
The period between Halloween and the winter solstice in late December coincides, at least in our part of the world, with the darkest time of the year, with shorter days and longer nights. In the medieval period, dark was pretty dark, apparently, and it was a dangerous time. In our "Edison-ized" society, where light is taken for granted, we tend to forget that. But long cold nights meant for dangerous travel back then. People were eating the food they had stored since the crops were all harvested and the land covered with ice. It was a risky and vulnerable time of year.
At this darkest time, the Church gathered its "little lights" together, its saints, for help through this "long dark night of the soul." Halloween, then, was a time to get out the scary things, the skeletons and beasties, and to say, in effect, "Bring 'em on! We are ready for your worst. There is nothing in this darkness that will prevent Christmas, and the coming of the Light of the World." Is it any wonder that Dec. 25 comes on the heels of the winter solstice, as the days begin imperceptibly to get longer?
I know there are many of us who choose not to celebrate Halloween for other reasons than these, but there is something powerful about a Church that can endure the scariest and darkest of times. "The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it." John 1:5 (NRSV).
See you in Church, Saints!