Deep in the valley of sorrow and sadness,
Where my life was ebbing away,
I saw a light, it was shining so brightly,
That my eyes did draw me to stay.
Out of the darkness a hand pulled me gently,
And effortlessly lift me above,
I felt the warmth and a power surround me,
The power of ineffable love.
Copyright Shirley Anne 19 Feb 1999
The above poem was dedicated to my father just before he died.
He always maintained a belief in God though I was never quite sure because he didn’t talk about it. However his way of life and his love for my mother and we his children would indicate he was a God-fearing man. When we as Christians talk about fear in this way we mean having respect for our Creator, His awesomeness, His power, His love. It is not fear in the everyday meaning of the word as in being frightened or scared. True love casts out all fear. If we love God and we know He loves us we have the assurance of His love. Does everyone love God? Unfortunately no. often simply by the way they live they show a lack of love for Him. People might say they just don’t understand but God says in His word that there is no excuse for not believing because of the evidence which surrounds us…. Romans 1:20For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
If knowing this people who still remain stubborn still remain in sin and will be judged accordingly. It seems stupid to me that people will reject the free gift of Gods love by rejecting His Son our Lord Jesus Christ and be set free from their sins. Why face God as a sinner when you know that He cannot look upon sin? It will be too late to do anything about it once you have died. So if you are about to celebrate Christmas think about the reason for Christ‘s birth, what was the purpose? He came to save sinners from eternal damnation and give them eternal life. All He asks is they repent and believe in Him. Make this Christmas one to remember, one that changed your life and gave you hope.
No matter what we do in life we have to learn or have learned how to do it. We don’t come into this world full of the knowledge and capability to do anything, we learn it. We get wiser, or should do, as we go along. One of my favourite responses I give (in jest) when asked how I know the things I know about doing electrical work is that I make it up as I go along. Well obviously I don’t else the work would be shoddy, unregulated and unsafe and my reputation for being a good worker would be lost. We have to learn everything or get nowhere. For many years my life had been empty without the knowledge of my Saviour. I had been very resistant to the belief that there was a God, I just didn’t want to know about such things. When asked if I believed I would respond by saying no and I don’t want to. Because I had no knowledge I couldn’t believe and yet God Himself points out in Scripture that we are without excuse as the evidence is all around us in Creation. Many simply do not ask of themselves where it all came from and some have endeavoured to search for rational and natural explanations. The truth of the matter is that before Creation there wasn’t any nature or reason, they came about, as with all things, through Creation. The next big question they fail to ask of themselves is who created it all if it was indeed created? God points out in Scripture that all things that were made and have their existence came about from nothing! God is saying that He made matter from something that wasn’t previously there. God isn’t believed because they want to know who made Him. The truth is that God has always been. When I became a Christian believer all those years ago I will be honest and say that although I was searching for answers to these questions and others I had also been searching for God. If we search wholeheartedly for God He will be found. ‘You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart’ (Jeremiah 29:13). However, that wasn’t the end of the matter. I had found the truth that is God, I found the truth that is Jesus Christ and He my Saviour and invited Him into my heart. I was saved! Saved from eternal damnation and I didn’t need to do anything myself except to simply believe in Jesus’ saving power. Now I could have rested on my laurels and did nothing more but once you discover the truth about God I tell you, you want to know more and more is revealed to those who seek it. I am a work in progress, saved but in need of refinement….and that will continue till the day I die when all will finally be revealed…….
Isaiah 40:5 And the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all people will see it together. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.’
Revelation 15:4 Who will not fear you, Lord, and bring glory to your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship before you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.’
The message is simple….God through His Word, that is Jesus Christ, created all things. He loves you so much He came in the flesh to die for all your sins (wrongdoing, rebellion, yes, even unbelief), paying the penalty for them and setting you free..forever. Are you ready to accept this free gift of love?
I suppose most of us give little thought about our mortality. It’s not something people like to dwell upon when they are enjoying their lives. For many people the act of dying simply means they cease to exist, they have no hope of a life beyond the grave because they don’t believe in such things. It says in Scripture these things…
He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
God has set eternity in our hearts so for those who don’t believe in God does that mean they never think about eternity? I think not. I think the unbelieving heart is simply not ready to accept it. The fact is eternity does exist. How could it not? Whether we believe in it is irrelevant. We cannot say that something doesn’t exist because we don’t believe it, that is an absurd assumption. It is the same with God, not believing in Him doesn’t mean He doesn’t exist. Because we don’t understand doesn’t mean it isn’t true. In the latter half of the verse shown it reminds us that NO one can fathom what God has done. It is all above our understanding, yet if we believe in God, if we believe in Jesus Christ, God actually gives us the understanding through His Spirit! It all becomes clear and in fact not believing becomes an abhorrent thought. What God reveals in our hearts is the truth and we have hope if we trust in Him. What’s more He give us that eternal life once we believe in Him and in the One He sent, The Lord Jesus, it becomes the reality we didn’t previously understand.
One of the most amazing things is He gives us the choice to believe or not. From someone who spent 43 years of her life as an unbeliever but became a believer, who did not understand but now does, believe me when I say that knowing God and having that eternal hope is worth reaching out for. Don’t put off seeking God for your days may be numbered, in fact they are numbered. Waiting for another time may prove too late, you are living on borrowed time…………….
God is calling you to Salvation through His Son Jesus……….reach out and believe.
Here is a true story…..
Sharing Your Story (Acts 4:1–22)
Peter and John are “unschooled, ordinary men.” Both are fishermen—a lower-class vocation. Some of the Pharisees who arrest the two for healing a crippled beggar are particularly puzzled by the men’s ability to speak articulately and effect healing. The only possible explanation is that these men have spent time with Jesus.
Jesus’ forgiveness and grace together comprised the only reason Peter and John had a chance to succeed in life. The same holds true for Ken Freeman, who emerged from homelessness to become a lifelong evangelist.
His mother was an alcoholic, and his father didn’t care enough to stick around. In a seemingly unending succession, Ken called nine different men his stepfather, but not one of them proved to be a worthy father figure. His home life brought only continuing abuse and neglect. As a young teen, Ken decided that he was better off on the streets than living the continuing nightmare at home.
When he was 16, Ken heard about a local church revival. He didn’t care about the revival as such, but he was lured by the free pizza being offered. Although he attended with the goal of filling his belly, God had other plans.
That night Ken met Jesus for the first time, and the encounter transformed him completely. He developed a growing passion for teenagers and their families, and at age 19, he began traveling and speaking at youth camps and church revivals across the country. Ken did not attend seminary to learn how to tell people about Jesus. He simply told his story. And people listened.
More than 200,000 people have come to know Jesus through Ken’s ministry. Despite having grown up in a broken home, he and his wife have been married for almost 40 years. Ken credits Jesus for the miraculous changes and incredible ministry that have blessed his life.
How do you think Ken Freeman can maintain such a positive outlook on life despite his difficult childhood?
I have just written a comment on an article posted by AOL regarding snowfall at Christmas. Our weather forecasters seemingly cannot say with certainty if we in the UK will get a white Christmas. My comments centred on the fact that I thought it utter nonsense that people yearn for such things forgetting as many do what Christmas is supposed to be all about, the birth of our Saviour and not the fact that we might or might not get snow!
I was at work on Saturday afternoon. I had no work in the morning but had arranged to work in another town for someone in the afternoon because they had no free time during the week. I didn’t mind, after all it is Christmas as they say. Anyway the work was to replace a few light fittings with sparkling new ones. The lady for whom I was doing the work began chatting with me. Usually it is off-putting when people won’t just let me get on with the work but on this occasion I didn’t mind. I was taken a little by surprise because her questions all centred upon me, my family, friends, about my faith and about Christmas. I am not forthright in opening up to people regarding my family and friends my faith and beliefs unless they ask of course but if they do I don’t hold back. She began by asking what I was doing over Christmas. When I replied ‘nothing different from usual’ she was intrigued and wanted to know more so I explained, telling her that I don’t think Christmas is celebrated for the right reasons these days and it has become a secular and commercial machine having nothing to do with Christ. I also told her that my family have all but distanced themselves and my friends all live afar, not that I can claim having many friends as I don’t which means I couldn’t celebrate the holiday with them as they do even it was my wish to do so. My social life is just about zero too but that’s another story. She became very concerned and it prompted more questions which I answered as honestly as I could. She couldn’t believe I don’t celebrate Christmas as I once did, in fact I don’t celebrate it at all. The look of concern upon her face was evident. She asked if I was a Christian, a question I usually end up asking of those I talk with rather than it being asked of myself. Asking what church I went to and discovering I don’t prompted her to ask why. The answer I gave made her feel sad for me and she said she thought it was sad that I wasn’t in a fellowship and no longer felt the urge to be in one. I was more concerned about her feeling a sadness for me instead of just accepting the way I feel about things as being my own choice. I have to admit I haven’t felt such a concern for me for many years, not even from those closest to me, my own family. I am more concerned that people should believe in God and Jesus Christ rather than be concerned for me and never mind whether it will snow or not.
I was watching the news program on television on Saturday morning and there was an article about a guy who had built a ‘house of horrors‘ with a Halloween theme for people to explore and be frightened all in the name of charity. It basically showed me how much people are willing to experience all kinds of things in support of charity. Absolutely nothing wrong in supporting a charity. However, charitable giving should be done privately and not done so that we can be praised by others for doing so. Ah but this is the secular world where those sentiments mean nothing. People like to boast about what they have done or are doing, half the time to impress others. It is all about pride. There is a greater reward for those who remain silent about what they do. I speak as a Christian and feel sad for the secular world where everything is done with great pomp and boastfulness. The world has sadly lost its way. The secular world is a treadmill, a calendar of repetition jumping from one event to the next throughout the year all guided and fuelled by commerce where all follow as if mesmerised. During the past week it has been very difficult to watch television without there being some reference to Halloween somewhere. Everything is geared to persuading participation in the meaningless celebrations surrounding it. Don’t they know they are dabbling with the occult? Of course they don’t, they don’t believe in such things, how can they if they don’t believe in God? That is the whole problem, people will believe in anything but the truth that is in God’s Word. Some confess a belief in God yet still follow in the ways of this world and its useless and worthless celebrations. What shall it profit a man if he gains the (whole) world yet loses his soul? (Matt 16:26 paraphrased).
For many weeks during October and into November the BBC promote the ‘Children in Need‘ event which encourages people to raise funds for the charity by any and many different ways in their own community. Shouldn’t they be doing that anyway? Many do of course but far more don’t. How one supports a charity is really not the point. The point is that yes we should support whatever charity or charities we are drawn to support but there should be no song and dance about it. The BBC promotes many things but we don’t need it all ramming down our throats every day. Well maybe the secular world does and maybe the secular world likes it but I don’t. We are told it is all about supply and demand but really without the supply there would be no demand. People will follow like sheep. Next in line Guy Fawkes, Armistice Day, Christmas, New Year, St Valentines Day, Easter……………..For Halloween our town has started yet another excuse to get people to spend their time and money chasing after the wind, they have called it ‘Screamfest in Spookport’ (Southport) and guess what? Yes, it was successful.
Many a time I have been told that I am a cheerful soul despite some of the things that have turned my world upside down, especially in the last twenty years. I could attribute my cheerfulness to many things I suppose but the real reason is the in-dwelling of The Holy Spirit, the joy in the knowledge of my salvation in Jesus Christ. I am given to the disposition of cheerfulness because I know I cannot change things that cannot be changed but strive to change those which can be instead. On Thursday I made it my business to take the day off work despite the requests for my services. I was able to have extra time in bed, something foreign to my normal lifestyle. Being honest I have to confess that I was tired but even so five hours sleep is usually enough for me. I managed to stay asleep for six hours before the urgency to visit the toilet awakened me. However I returned to bed and put in another four hours before I finally stirred again. Whilst going about the business of getting ready for the day I received a call from an American guy asking if I would do some electrical work for him. He rejected the price I gave him for the proposed work as he said the job should be easy. Well of course the job should be easy but they seldom work out that way. No matter, he seemed to be the expert! I assumed he found someone to do it for next to nothing. A few minutes later I received another call from a local girl wanting my electrical services and that job I will be doing (as I write this) on Saturday morning and Monday afternoon (she is moving house). At least the calls came late in the morning so as not to disturb my sleep which is usually the case when I want a lie-in. I had a doctor‘s appointment at two-thirty to discuss the findings of an X-ray I’d had two weeks ago. I knew beforehand what the diagnosis would be and it was confirmed to me. Being as it was Thursday, E would be doing the weekly shop but this week she had to go alone as her mum has been in hospital for a couple of days because of a problem she was having with abdominal pain. It isn’t a life-threatening condition as far as we know and hopefully it isn’t but any medical problems at her age can be a cause for concern. So it is with us all and myself being as I am now sixty-nine I have to expect one problem or another occasionally. Anyway E drove me to the surgery before continuing on to do the shopping. When we are young we think we are invincible but as we grow older we realise that we are not. My newly acquired condition was, according to my doctor, probably brought about by my long life at work. I have the beginnings of osteoarthritis. It is the result of a wearing down of the cartilage between the joints in my fingers, more so in my right hand as I am right-handed. I know there is nothing that can be done to reverse the condition so I accept it. The doctor was surprised at my easy-going reaction. As I say, I can’t change things that cannot be changed so why worry about it? As long as I can play my guitar, and I am still able, I shall be content. I left the surgery soon afterwards and walked the short distance into the village to make a cash deposit at my bank. It is just as well I save when I can as my youngest son had asked me earlier in the day if I could lend him some money to help him with a cash-flow problem he was having. He is to repay me later. Where have I heard that one before? Leaving the bank I walked across the road to the chemists to collect the prescription my doctor had forwarded electronically to them. Paper prescriptions are becoming a thing of the past. I collected the gel the doctor had prescribed to reduce the swelling in my hand and started back home on foot. It was still wet, cold and windy on Thursday, bracing weather as they say. I was prevented from continuing my journey by the level-crossing barriers that had just closed off the road. I spoke with a lady who was visiting our town for the afternoon and she was telling me about the conditions near the Promenade which is exposed to the westerly winds. Well Southport is windy at the best of times as it sits right on the coast facing the Irish Sea. The train left the station, the barriers lifted and I continued home with the wind in my face. I was feeling very happy and contented, a cheerful soul indeed.
While this was once a question pondered by philosophers and religious groups, scientists are now seriously considering the possibility that consciousness can continue after a person has been clinically diagnosed as dead.
A large-scale study involving 2,060 patients from 15 hospitals in the UK, USA and Austria has found that patients experience real events for up to a three-minute period after their heart has stopped beating.
The Awareness during Resuscitation (Aware) study, sponsored by the University of Southampton, used objective markers to establish whether the experiences were real or hallucinatory.
The results showed that 39% of patients who survived cardiac arrest described a perception of awareness but did not have explicit recall.
A total of 46% experienced a broad range of mental recollections, 9% had experiences compatible with NDEs and 2% exhibited full awareness compatible with OBEs with explicit recall of “seeing” and “hearing” events.
One man in particular, a 57-year-old social worker from Southampton, was reported to have given a “very credible” account of what was happening in the room during the three minutes that he was “clinically dead”.
The man could describe the movements of the doctors and nurses in the room with uncanny accuracy. He told the researchers he felt he was standing in the corner of the room, observing the medical staff resuscitate him.
Dr Parnia said: “This is significant, since it has often been assumed that experiences in relation to death are likely hallucinations or illusions, occurring either before the heart stops or after the heart has been successfully restarted, but not an experience corresponding with ‘real’ events when the heart isn’t beating.
“In this case, consciousness and awareness appeared to occur during a three-minute period when there was no heartbeat.
“This is paradoxical, since the brain typically ceases functioning within 20-30 seconds of the heart stopping and doesn’t resume again until the heart has been restarted.
“Furthermore, the detailed recollections of visual awareness in this case were consistent with verified events.
“Thus, while it was not possible to absolutely prove the reality or meaning of patients’ experiences and claims of awareness, (due to the very low incidence – 2% – of explicit recall of visual awareness or so-called OBEs), it was impossible to disclaim them either and more work is needed in this area.
“Clearly, the recalled experience surrounding death now merits further genuine investigation without prejudice.”
Research psychologist at Nottingham Trent University Dr David Wilde, is currently gathering data on out-of-body experiences in an attempt to discover a pattern.
Speaking to The Telegraph, he said: “Most studies look retrospectively, 10 or 20 years ago, but the researchers went out looking for examples and used a really large sample size, so this gives the work a lot of validity.
“There is some very good evidence here that these experiences are actually happening after people have medically died.
“We just don’t know what is going on. We are still very much in the dark about what happens when you die and hopefully this study will help shine a scientific lens onto that.”
The problem I find with this argument is that it speaks about the conscious mind and nothing is said about the spirit which is the essence of the being. Conscience and spirit are two separate things. Conscience is linked to the physical whilst spirit is not. There can be no definitive proof of life after death unless somebody rises from death to live again as Jesus did and was visible proof to thousands who saw him after he had arisen. Anything connected with the brain dies when the brain dies but the spirit within the body, the person, rises for it cannot be destroyed by physical death. Only one person can destroy the spirit and that is He who made it, our heavenly Father. I firmly believe this to be true and was discussing this very thing with someone recently. My argument is this, if I am wrong I have lost nothing but if I am right I have gained more than I can imagine. However if someone doesn’t agree that I am right they too have lost nothing if I am wrong but have lost their soul, their spirit and are condemned for eternity if they discover that I was right. Some choice isn’t it? Some choice it may be but certainly one that should be seriously considered whilst the opportunity to do so is still possible.
Written by forty different authors spanning several centuries yet all contributions knit together like a jigsaw puzzle and have a thread within them which links them together. The Bible. Many have sought its destruction and have failed, many have tried to disprove its content and also have failed. The collection of books we know collectively as The Bible cover many subjects but overall it is a history book and a book of prophesy. It is a book about life and the purpose and future of mankind. It is a manual for living and the words it contains are alive. Many have no understanding of its purpose and meaning often preferring to dismiss it without prior study, often preferring to believe in something else yet not being able to justify it. One of the main characters and contributors in the New Testament, Paul, was vehemently against the followers of Christ to the point of seeking them out and persecuting them until one day as he made his way to Damascus to pursue his passion of hate he was confronted by God. That experience led him to repent and become a driving force in the early Church. My own experience followed a similar vein. The Bible has been called a fairy tale by those who oppose the faith, some even going out of their way to bring it to disrepute. Often this is because they do not want to have their way of life challenged in any way and that is probably because The Bible speaks out against the practices of some. Religion has been blamed as the cause of friction and the many wars that mankind has endured over the millennia but in fact it has been proven not to be true, in fact most wars have been caused by other things not related to religion. This argument is a non-starter for an excuse not to believe in God. There will be scoffers, there will be unbelievers, there will be those who reject the truth, there will be those who are immoral, who slander, who cheat and lie, who think there will be no punishment or judgement, even those things are prophesied in The Bible. I say to those people read the book and gain an understanding, ask God that He open your heart to the truth of the matter. If you are sincere and persistent, He WILL answer and that’s a fact.
Many people, probably the majority of those today who observe Christmas have no idea what it is all about or what the celebration is all about. They assume that by observing the season of goodwill to all men and by that I mean their so-called holiday season and having a good time with family and friends is enough but it isn’t. They readily forget the rest of the year and the way they treat others. They forget their selfish attitude, they forget those who are in need and most of all they forget they have a need for a Saviour. They don’t believe in God and such things so their celebrations are a sham and are totally meaningless. For the Christian Christmas, if celebrated, for it isn’t a requirement, is done so in the knowledge that what it stands for is an year-round thing. A Christian knows the importance of the reasons why Jesus Christ was born, died and rose again to eternal life and why without him there is no salvation, no heaven but the prospect of eternal damnation. I wrote this brief comment on Lucy’s blog recently in response to what she was writing about, the sending of Christmas cards and who to send them to.
Christmas isn’t about sending cards. It isn’t about self-indulgence. It
isn’t about partying. It isn’t about ‘having a great time’. It isn’t
about cheer and goodwill for the season. It isn’t about magic. It isn’t
about giving and receiving presents. It is about the one present and
only present worth receiving, the birth of your Saviour without whom
eternity will be something you do not want to be a part of. The whole
Christmas festival is a man-made meaningless affair that is now totally
driven by money, consumerism and the ‘must have’ attitude of many. It has become a
sentimental thing that we teach our children and has nothing to do with
life itself. Christmas is for believers in Jesus Christ but the
celebration has been hi-jacked by those who have no belief in God or
Jesus Christ or have a distorted view. It is such a shame that people
miss the point and why Christ was born into the world. It is such a
shame that they feel the need to comply with the watered-down secular
version of what should be a real celebration. Christmas should start on
1st January and end on 31st December………Christianity is a lifestyle
as well as a belief.
I no longer partake of a celebration that has
departed so far away from its initial intention so I do not have to
worry about sending cards to people I hardly ever see or to those who
are not part of my life. I give no presents and I receive none. I
celebrate Christmas in a different way and I celebrate it all
year-round. God demands that I do.
In a day or two many people will be celebrating Halloween and many of those people confess themselves to be Christian. As Halloween is based upon ancient pagan and other rituals those who call themselves Christian should consider into which camp they are placing their feet for we cannot worship both God and the things of Satan. This article explains the history surrounding the festival known as Halloween and is taken from this site…
Torn between fun and scary traditions, between religious celebration and pagan superstition, Halloween has long surpassed the boundaries of the English speaking countries. The holiday marked by costumed parties, bonfires, carved pumpkins, wandering souls and creepy house decorations made its triumphal entry in different cultures all over the world, demolishing religious barriers and quenching people’s thirst for spooky fun. However, Halloween has passed through numerous stages and has been constantly “refined” by religious beliefs and historical conditions until it reached its current version. Its history has been marked by witchcraft, strange beliefs, pagan rituals and Christian vanities, culminating with a tribute paid to the Holly Marketing which managed to make Halloween a profitable business all over the world.
During Samhain people dressed up in animal skins to chase away the spirits and the wild animals which may get close to the celebrating crowd. There was also the habit for women to endorse manly clothing and men to dress up in women’s clothing to deceive the spirits. This is probably the first trace of the Halloween costume tradition, a tradition that will be successfully perpetuated along time.
Another Halloween tradition that it’s supposed to have its origins in this 2,000 years old festival is the pumpkin carving. The Celts took parts of the bonfire to their homes to protect their belongings from the avenging spirits, so they carved turnips, rutabagas and gourds to safely transport the fire. However, other traditions, legends and myths, including the well-known Stingy Jack’s story, are also associated with the pumpkin carving tradition.
From a farm on Camp Dix, NJ 1914-1918
Kids in Halloween costumes, 1941
These are college students from the Lakewood, NJ area 1914-18
Halloween 1980 at Lamonica stadium vs Clovis Official Band Photo
Halloween and the Roman Conquest
In 43 A.D., the territories inhabited by Celtic population were conquered by the Romans, who brought with them their own culture civilization and beliefs. The Romans celebrated the dead on Feralia, a holiday which took place in late October, so the Celtic traditions were successfully combined with the Roman ones, bringing Halloween one step closer to the holiday we all know today. In addition to Feralia, there was another Roman holiday which impacted Halloween – Pomona. Pomona was the goddess of trees and was symbolized by an apple, therefore there are signs that the tradition of bobbing apples was a Roman ritual taken over by the Celts and incorporated in the traditional Samhain.
Halloween and Christianity
Samhain was a celebration which survived in time and the Celtic beliefs, although altered by the passing of time, continued to have a great impact on the British Islands inhabitants. Their Christianization has not affected their faith in wandering spirits, in the purifying power of bonfires and in Druidic prophecies. However, the Christian authorities were not fond of the idea that a festival reminiscent from a pagan religion was still practiced in Christian communities. Therefore the efforts of abolishing the Samhain were more intense in the 7th and 8th century, culminating with a “Christianization” of the original celebration.
In 609 A.D. Pope Boniface IV established May 13th as Day of the Dead in an attempt to erase old Celtic rituals and beliefs. However, the bonfires and costumes specific to Samhain were still seen in the last day of October, sign that the pagan celebration was held in parallel with the Christian holiday. This determined Pope Gregory III to overlap the Christian holiday with the pagan ritual, in an attempt to transform the old celebration in a religious holiday that will commemorate the dead as well as the Christian martyrs and saints. The holiday was renamed “All Saints Day” or “All Hollows Day” (or Hallowmas which in Old English stands for “All Saints Day”) and was celebrated on November 1st. Yet, the ghost of Samhain continued to hunt the Christian authorities as the English communities did not want to give up the ancient festival. Because it preceded All Hollows Day, the celebration was known as “All Hollows Eve” (which has later on evolved into “Halloween”).
Alongside the religious celebration, another Halloween tradition was born. Instead of leaving food at the doors for the wandering spirits, people were encouraged to share parts of their meals or specially baked “soul cookies” with the poor in exchange of prayers for dead’s souls. Christians believed that the dead will not step in the other world unless the living prayed intensely for their soul. In exchange of a “soul cookie” (sweet pastry) poor people promised to pray for the dead, ensuring their smooth passage in the other world. The process was called “go a-souling” and it rapidly grew popular among children too, preceding what we now know as “trick-or-treat”.
Halloween and Guy Fawkes
The introduction of the Protestant religion left people without one of their favorite holidays: the All Hollow’s Eve. The Protestants did not recognize the saints and their importance in the mediation between person and God, therefore a holiday that would celebrate the saints was unnecessary. However, the holiday was reincarnated in Guy Fawkes Day in 1606, when Fawkes was executed for his attempt of removing King James from the throne on November, 5th. Bonfires (known as “bone fires”) were lit again, this time to symbolically burn Pope’s bones, while children roamed from door to door asking for money to build their own effigies. While the phrase “a penny for Guy” was popular at the time, the Guy Fawkes Day was soon left in oblivion.
Halloween is a complex holiday which has grown, evolved and refined along with the times and societies in which it has been practiced. Yet, its core always remained the same: there is a time when boundaries are blurred, social barriers are crossed and reality mingles with fantasy in a one of a kind moment. That time is called Halloween!
Christian, come out from among those who worship not the things of God……..
On the day of Pentecost the apostles were gathered in an upper room and there appeared something like flames descending on their heads. They had been filled with The Holy Spirit and they began to prophesy, speaking in foreign tongues. Those who heard them thought they were all drunk but they had all heard the messages in their own language by those who had never spoken in their language previously. The apostles, by the Spirit, had spoken these words……
‘“In the last days, God says,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your young men will see visions,
your old men will dream dreams.
18 Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
and they will prophesy.
19 I will show wonders in the heavens above
and signs on the earth below,
blood and fire and billows of smoke.
20 The sun will be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood
before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.
21 And everyone who calls
on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
Many today believe we are in those last days as we see the events in the world unfolding around us. Everything seems to be pointing to the beginning of the end and the return of Jesus Christ. For those who understand the prophecies in Scripture it is difficult not to believe we are approaching such times and if that is true are we ready for such things? Are you ready for Christ’s return?
Over the years E and I have had our problems just as many people do. The main reason we divorced was due to E’s attitude and lack of interest in our relationship, though E would be the last one to admit that. However, it is true. We still share the same house and home which was down to my suggesting we stay together. Our sons suggested we try to live together rather than go our own separate ways but the thought was already on my mind. So we made a go of it and things got better over the last few years though there have been periods when we have not spoken to each other and this has been due to E’s attitude and a refusal to apologise. I have been extremely patient though my feelings have been hurt many times and it has always been me who reached out to mend the rift, never E. Things have been exceptionally good between us over the last few months so it hurts me when again I am treated the way I was treated again on Sunday and I don’t like visiting places like this:
In dreams I wandered through the night
Content and locked away from all reality.
Mine was a hope not known when in my waking hours
Where only strife and pain grew strong
And hope was dashed to pieces
Like the rocky shore of some remote and lonely place
That bore the anger of the ceaseless waves
Bombarding day by day.
From all that could my spirit break
And yet not capable was I my fate to steer
I ventured out so bold and free from fear,
Such foolishness, but no, I held on tight
Till all my dream was gone,
Then I awoke reluctantly to face the dawn
And yet another day alone.
Copyright Shirley Anne 24 August 2004
But I find I am forced into them often by E.
I refuse to make an argument out of the stupid things E says to me or acts toward me so I beat a retreat and hope E will realise how hurt I am and offer an apology. That never happens though and it will be down to me once more to make peace. It isn’t as though these rifts are infrequent for they are not. Each time E hurts my feelings I forgive but I often wonder how long I can keep on doing that. My faith is the reason I do.