“Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is.” 1 John 3:2
Dear Redeemer Family:
Wow! It is November already! The Church is drawing to a close. It will officially end this year on November 26th with Christ the King Sunday. But before then, we have a couple of festivals that greet us.
The first is on November 1st, All Saints’ Day. It is unfortunate that most people will celebrate the night before and be done. Halloween is just what it says, “All Hallow’s Evening.” Or to update the language a bit, “The night before All Saints’.” Originally, October 31st for the Celts was just a harvest festival before everyone celebrated the New Year (the Celtic New Year was Nov. 1st) and then went home to their farms. When the Church moved All Saints’ Day to November 1st, things got blended and added to, and confused.
The real point of All Saints’ Day was, and is, to celebrate all the Saints; past, present and future. It includes in particular a remembrance of the saints who have died in the course of the year, namely since the last All Saints Day. We celebrate them passing from the Church Militant (the Church on earth) to the Church Triumphant (the Church in heaven). To look at the quote from St. John above, “we are God’s children now.” That never ends. Not even death can take us from God’s hand. And we celebrate that fact on All Saints’ Day. Because of that, to bring up another scriptural quote, we celebrate that “we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses.” The saints are with us still.
November 2nd is similar, but different. It is the celebration of All Souls’ Day. It is a remembrance of all people who have lived and died. They may not have been members of the Church, but they are important too. Hence, between the two days, we remember, literally, everyone.
Interestingly, the next celebration in November is the National Day of Thanksgiving. It isn’t per se a Church holiday, but the Church goes along with it. After all, every day is a day of Thanksgiving. As we remember its history, it too was originally a harvest festival. It is also a time to give thanks to God for all blessings received.
Yes, November is a time for giving thanks: thanks for all the saints, for all the souls, for the blessings which God has bestowed upon us, and for the greatest blessing, Christ our King. So, have a blessed, celebratory November!