This year UBC will be celebrating Holyween. It’s probably obvious, but Holyween is supposed to be a more Christian friendly version of Halloween. The name Halloween is a contracted version of the day’s original name All Hallow’s Eve. It started out simply as the day before a past Christian holiday named All Hallow’s Day (also known as Hallowmas).
Interestingly enough, the word hallow means to honor as holy, so essentially, the titles Halloween and Holyween mean nearly the same thing. So, what’s the purpose of even using the new name? Well, regardless of what the name Halloween actually means, the holiday’s complicated history has taken it far from its holy beginnings. At best, it has become a commercially supported holiday meant to give kids a little fun but mostly sell a lot of candy and costumes. At worst, it’s become a day to celebrate darkness, evil, and the worst parts of the human experience. As with most holidays, Halloween is really whatever those who choose to celebrate it make of it. UNITED has chosen to use it to fellowship with the community and direct attention back to Jesus, and the new name is just an attempt to separate the church’s celebration from any negativity associated with the more commonly used title.
There’s actually a pretty good parallel between the holiday and humanity. Halloween started off innocently enough, and so did we. The Bible tells us that we began with two people in paradise who seemingly knew nothing of good and evil. Over time Halloween was corrupted. What was innocent and holy was introduced to sinful things and darkened. The same happened to humanity. Adam and Eve committed the first sin by disobeying God and eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. As a result, humanity has been corrupted. Over time Halloween changed so much that now it would be unrecognizable if compared to what the day was originally about. Similarly, we are far removed from what God originally made us to be. At one time, we were the finishing touch on his creation, and over time humanity became his enemy.
Sometimes, in our world, people and things can become so mired in or connected to controversy that they have to disappear for a while and then reintroduce themselves as something new. We’ve seen this happen with businesses (Philip Morris changed into Altira to show that they were more than a cigarette vendor), sports teams (several teams that formerly used Native American inspired names and mascots have changed), and even people (Ron Artest became Meta World Peace to separate himself from his bad boy image). Sometimes things just need to be rebranded.
That’s what UNITED is doing with Halloween. Consider Holyween to be the holiday’s rebranding. The church will reintroduce Christ to the celebration and make it something that is completely new but also closer to what it originally was. And therein lies the biggest similarity between Halloween and humanity. At one point, God looked at us and believed that we needed to be rebranded, so he introduced us to Christ, and, if we choose to accept him, we too will become something new while also becoming closer to what we once were.
For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous. – Romans 5:19
His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. – 2 Peter 1:3-4
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! – 2 Corinthians 5:17
So, feel free to enjoy your Halloween or Holyween or whatever you want to call it. There is nothing wrong with eating candy (in moderation of course), dressing up, and having fun with friends and family. Just remember that this holiday like every other day is better when you include Jesus in it, and the same can be said for our lives, our community, and everything else we believe is important.