“Let the Holidays Begin”

The chill of autumn is definitely in the air.  There is frost on the pumpkin, the trees are losing their leaves, football is well under way and the holiday season is almost upon us.   For many, the holidays begin with the ritual of giving or receiving bite sized candies for Halloween.  Within the church, the holiday season has historically begun with the celebration of All Saints Day.  Sure, we might have our “Trunk or Treats,” “Harvest Parties,” or “Boo Bashes,” but those really aren’t Christian celebrations.  They are alternatives to the secular traditions of Halloween.  All Saints Day, on the other hand, is a unique celebration where the church remembers those Christ followers who have gone to be with the Lord. In the New Testament, a “saint” was any Christian past or present.  In other words, you didn’t have to be a super Christian to be a saint.  You simply had to be a follower of Jesus Christ.  For instance, in the book of Romans Paul addresses all the believers of that city as “saints.”  “To all who are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints” (Romans 1:7, MEV). This November 1 put away the ghost stories and remember the real lives of those special people who touched your life with the love of Jesus Christ.  Light a candle in their memory.  Place a flower on their headstone.  Read their favorite Bible verse.  Sing their favorite hymn or praise song.  Tell their faith story to someone else! The following is a prayer from Discipleship Ministries of The UMC written by Safiyah Fosua.

We give you thanks, O God, for all the saints who ever worshiped you

Whether in brush arbors or cathedrals,

Weathered wooden churches or crumbling cement meeting houses

Where your name was lifted and adored.

 

We give you thanks, O God, for hands lifted in praise:

Manicured hands and hands stained with grease or soil,

Strong hands and those gnarled with age

Holy hands

Used as wave offerings across the land.

 

We thank you, God, for hardworking saints;

Whether hard-hatted or steel-booted,

Head ragged or aproned,

Blue-collared or three-piece-suited

They left their mark on the earth for you, for us, for our children to come.

 

Thank you, God, for the tremendous sacrifices made by those who have gone before us.

Bless the memories of your saints, God.

May we learn how to walk wisely from their examples of faith, dedication, worship, and love.

 

Have a Blessed All Saints Day, Pastor John


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