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Halloween is an annual chance to playfully greet the things that we most fear. Monsters, ghosts and goblins are not nearly as scary when they are just the neighbor kids dressed in costumes.
But beneath the playful exterior of the holiday lurks the fear that we are more fragile than we like to believe. The fear most of us feel and do not admit is a fear that there is something out there in the dark that can take everything away from us. Forget zombies and vampires, real fears are made of disease, disaster and death.
Job, which is found in the Old Testament, is a perfect book to mediate on for Halloween. If you don’t have time to read all of it here is the Cliff Notes version: Bad stuff happens. Job loses everything—wealth, family, health. His “friends” blame him for having made God angry somehow and advise him to “curse God and die.” But the one thing Job did not lose was his faith. In fact he rejected his friends blaming of the victim and proclaimed his innocence boldly to God.
In the end God comes. God says a lot things, but God doesn’t explain or justify Job’s predicament. Job’s response, is basically, “Now I get it. God comes.”
Halloween is really “All Hallows Eve.” An old English name for All Saints’ Day, which falls on November 1st was “All Hallows,” a celebration of the promise of Resurrection for those who have died. If you say “All Hallows Eve” really fast in an English accent it comes out “Halloween.” In times past it was a chance to dress up like demons and devils that in the end have no power in the face of God.
So Halloween is not just about laughing at what we fear most or even trying real hard to overcome our fears by our own will. Halloween is about facing even our darkest of fears in the spirit of Job trusting that God comes and that makes all of the difference.
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