Friday, October 25, 2013

Saving Halloween from the Atheists and Pagans

          The forces of radical atheism are at war with more than Christmas.   Even Halloween is frequently under attack by those who would tell you that it's a Pagan holiday.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  One need look no further than Mexico to see that their Halloween traditions are tightly tied to religion.  Of course this is because Halloween is a Christian holiday.   The name Halloween comes from the word hallowed, which means "holy" and the word ween which is an old English word meaning "to think".  In other words, Halloween is a day for thinking holy thoughts.
            Unfortunately, the forces of radical atheism threaten to rob this great day of the symbols of its proud Christian heritage.   If these people have their way all traces of Halloween's Christian roots would be erased and all references to Jesus would be stricken from Halloween parades, store displays, and the hopeful mouths of trick or treating Christian children.    We must all stand together against this atheistic tyranny.
            One of the stories, atheists don't want you to know is the story of the Jack O'Lantern.   In Ireland, Christians were persecuted for many centuries.  One of the reasons that St. Patrick was celebrated for driving the snakes from Ireland is because they used to feed Christian children to the snakes.   Christians were kept  poor and not allowed to hold jobs.  Their possessions were simple, but their faith was mighty.
            As the Irish traveled along the countryside at autumn harvest time looking for work picking crops, they were frequently met with signs that said Christians need not apply.   Even a non-Christian who hired a Christian to pick his crops faced persecution from the Irish King.   
            The Irish  needed a subtle symbol to let others know that they welcomed Christians and that the light of Jesus shined within them.   They came up with the idea of taking a pumpkin and carving a smiling face on it.   They then placed a candle inside the pumpkin and placed it in the window.
            The Irish named this pumpkin Jack of the Light or the Americanized version, "Jack O' Lantern".   Christians knew if they saw one of these Jack O'Lanterns in any home, they could receive help there.  If they needed shelter they could stay there and if they needed food, they needed food, the home owners would share whatever meager provisions they could.
            Some families of more well to do Christians began to get a reputation for their generosity.  Unfortunately, this also drew the attention of those powerful people in the government who were against Christians.  They began to pay attention to the people who came to those houses and to record their names.  
            After the first arrests, the Irish Christians got a bright idea.  They began to wear disguises and costumes to conceal their identities from government spies.  It became a beautiful tradition, which we exported when Halloween was brought to America. 
            Nowadays, pumpkins are carved into the most grotesque and hideous shapes imaginable and the original meaning of the Jack O'Lantern has been lost.   Costumes likewise, have become more about displaying skin than about obscuring identities   However, Ireland has become one of the most Christian countries in the world.  How many prayers would have remained unprayed if not for Jack of the Light.
            America may not have had Ireland's religious persecution, but Halloween has remained an important holiday since it was brought to this country by Irish immigrants in the 19th century.   By the early part of the 20th century, the holiday had spread throughout the entire United States.  The concept of Trick or Treating became especially important in the years of Roosevelt's Great Depression when candy was replaced by canned goods and the peas or stewed tomatoes a child earned trick or treating might be all the food that his family had to eat for dinner that night. 
            Records from the period are spotty at best, but I firmly believe more families made it through the Depression because of trick or treating than from any expensive social program that President Roosevelt launched in a misguided attempt to create a safety net for the poor.

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