First Christian Church Newton

A Community of Companions on the Journey of Faith

Things that Go Bump in the Night

“From Ghoulies and Ghostliest,
and Four Legged Beasties,
and Things that Go Bump In the Night;
Oh Lord, Deliver Us”

The above four lines are actually a prayer found in the Book of Common Prayer which was first composed by Thomas Cramner in the sixteenth century. It is a faint reminder to us that at least once the believers took seriously the forces of evil in this world.

We should never forget that Satan is in this world & he is trying to tempt us away from the truth.

This is the time of year when we see pumpkins in the stores & Halloween candy on the shelves. It is also a good time to look at some of the history surrounding the development of the season we call Halloween.

The word “Halloween” comes from the phrase “All Hallows Eve” (or the day before “All Hallows Day”, or “All Saints Day” as it is commonly known). The word “hallow” means “holy” like in the phrase, “Hallowed be Thy Name…”.

If you translate the phrase “All Hollows Eve” into the common vernacular of the 17th Century, it comes out “Hallow e’en”.

Like other Holidays which came to us out of our European ancestry. All Saints Day (Nov. 1) was a day set aside to celebrate all the Christian saints, known & unknown. The day before All Saints Day
was transformed from an old Celtic or Druid pagan holiday known as “all witches eve”.

Therefore October 31, being the day before All Hallows or All Saints day, came to be known as the last day of the year in which all the disembodied spirits could roam the earth with impunity.

For the Christians, the day took on an air of frivolity because as we all know Christ is victorious over evil (see Phil 2:5-11). Night time pranks & cavorting on Halloween were probably originally nothing
more then joyous celebrations of Christ’s ultimate victory.

The only reason “Jack-O-Lanterns” came to be associated with Halloween is because young people carried lanterns around on Halloween in order to see where they were going. These lanterns were improvised out of gourds or turnips. In 17th century England anyone who was known to carry a lantern by occupation, such as a night watchman, was referred to as a “Jack-o-lantern” which is a shortened form of the phrase “Jack of the lantern”. There was never anything sinister about it.

If we remember that Christ is, ultimately, victorious over Satan; Halloween can be fun & even a religious celebration. It is only when
we attribute to Satan a certain amount of authority in our lives that we can truly fear this celebration.

Otherwise why not enjoy the crisp fall air, the pumpkins, the candy & the children in costume & have a good time. There is after-all nothing truly to fear & the only things “that go bump in the night” are probably things your cat knocked off the shelf. Of course if you do not have a cat; well then there is always the aforementioned prayer.



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