Summary: This sermon gives the history of Halloween and a biblical perspective of the holiday.
Sunday Evening October 28, 2001 Bel Aire Baptist Church
TRICK OR TREAT
1. As a parent I have had to make decisions concerning Halloween. Is Halloween just a harmless holiday that kids go from house to house and get candy? What’s wrong with that? Is it harmful to a child to let them dress up like ghost, Dracula, witches, etc…? The big question is should I let my kids participate in Halloween? This is the main reason that I push the Fall Festival here every year is because it is a good alternative.
2. Halloween has become the most popular holiday of the year in the United States. Let’s look tonight at the history of Halloween and how the Bible can help answer my question of what I should do.
1. Halloween: The Celtic festival of Samhain is probably the source of the present-day Halloween celebration. The Celts new year began on November 1. A festival that began the previous evening honored Samhain, the Celtic lord of death. The celebration marked the beginning of the season of cold, darkness, and decay. It naturally became associated with human death. The Celts believed that Samhain allowed the souls of the dead to return to their earthly homes for this evening. On the evening of the festival, the Druids, who were the priests and teachers of the Celts, ordered the people to put out their fires. The Druids built a huge new year’s bonfire of oak branches, which they considered sacred. They burned animals, crops, and human beings as sacrifices. Then each family relit its fire from the new year’s fire. During the celebration, people sometimes wore costumes made of animal heads and skins. They told fortunes about the coming year by examining the remains of the animals that had been sacrificed.
2. All Saints Day: Many of the customs of the Celts survived even after the people became Christians. During the 800’s, the church established All Saints’ Day on November 1. They made the old pagan customs part of this Christian holy day.
3. The Catholic Church later began to honor the dead on November 2. This day became known as All Soul’s Day. The Catholics believed that you could pray the dead out of purgatory.
B. Additional Celebrations
1. The Jack-o-Lantern originated with an Irishman named Jack who loved to play pranks on the Devil. Legend is that he was made to wander the world carrying a lantern to show him the way, going to neither heaven nor hell. Hollowed out pumpkins with candles lighted inside were supposed to scare evil spirits away.
2. The Irish initiated “Trick-or-treating” when farmers would go from house to house to collect food for the village.
3. Costumes went from children dressing up like martyrs in celebration of All Saints Day to the modern day costumes of witches, etc…
1. The Devil delights in deceiving God’s children.
2. What may seem harmless can be very dangerous in the hands of Satan.
3. This may sound radical but where do you draw the line?
A. Object Lesson
1. Supplies Needed: One large pumpkin with the facial features cut out. When you cut out the features save them because you will need them during this object lesson. You will also need to save some of the slime and seeds from the inside. You will also need a candle.
2. Lesson: Could I have my volunteer come up here? [Have the volunteer put their hand into the bowl filled with seeds and pulp.] How does that feel? What words would you use to describe it? Do you think that’s like you? It says in the Bible that we are all sinners and that sound pretty bad to me. This pumpkin does have bad stuff inside. The pumpkin is like us in that we can’t get the bad stuff out- someone has to come along and do it for us. I can’t get rid of my sins on my own, but God has told us in His work that if we will confess our sins to Him, He will take them away and make us clean. When we ask Jesus to come into lives and take our sins away he does it and in the Bible it says that Jesus is the Light of the world so when He comes to live in our lives- light comes into our lives. [Now light the candle.]
3. I want to tell you about a little boy named Albert. Albert went to church one day and someone told him about the Lord Jesus wanting to come into his life and take away his sins. Albert thought that was a great thing so he asked Jesus to do it. He wanted to share this good news with others so he wanted them to see Jesus in how he acted and what he did. Some days were hard like the day that his mother tried to hurry him up to get to school on time and he yelled and “back-talked” his mother. He sinned. [Fill in one of the eyes.] On the bus his friend had saved a seat for him but he just glared at him and sat somewhere else. His friend looked hurt. Albert sinned. [Fill in the other eye.] At school they had a spelling test and Albert couldn’t remember what the last word was so he looked on a friend’s paper. Albert sinned. [Fill in the nose.] After school he went outside to play and he hit his little brother. Albert sinned again. [Put one part of the mouth in.] His mother called him in and asked him what happened and he said that he didn’t know. She looked at him and asked him if he had hit his little brother and Albert said no. Albert lied and that is a sin. [Fill in another part of the mouth.] Later his mother asked him to come and set the table, but Albert pretended that he hadn’t heard her and she had to call him 3 times before he finally went. Albert sinned. [Fill in the last part of the mouth.] When Albert sinned did Jesus leave? [Look inside the pumpkin. The light should still be burning. You need to keep the lid of the pumpkin off a little bit or the candle will burn out.] No. Jesus will never leave us but the people around Albert can’t see Jesus because Albert has been doing so many wrong things. Albert needs to ask Jesus to forgive him for the sins he has committed that day and then go to each one of those people and ask their forgiveness. [Take the people back through the sins of Albert and talk about how he asked for forgiveness. As you do this, take the pieces back out so that you can once again see the light burning.]