In much of the world, November 1 is All Saints Day, or All Hallows.
For Roman Catholics, this is a “holy day of obligation” celebrating all those who are in heaven. (Eastern Christianity celebrates its own All Saints Day in the spring, after Pentecost.)
For Protestants, the word “saint” typically refers to any Christian, so the church universal (now and throughout time) is celebrated.
In addition, many cultures use this day to also celebrate the dead, especially those who passed away in the last year. This is done by special readings and ceremonies, family get-togethers, as well as visiting, cleaning, and leaving flowers at family graves. Nowhere is this so evident as in Mexico, where it’s also the first day of the Dia de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead.
“Precious in the sight of the Lord
is the death of his saints.”
*Many Protestant churches now celebrate Reformation Sunday on the Sunday on or before October 31. Some people, including the whole country of Slovenia, still celebrate Reformation Day on October 31, no matter what the day of the week.
On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther tacked his Ninety-Five Theses to the door of the Castle Church of Wittenberg, Germany. At the time, he was probably just hoping other professors and students at the University of Wittenberg would read it (since the church door was, in effect, the town bulletin board), and that it would perhaps lessen the sale of indulgences locally.
Instead, it’s now known as the start of the Reformation.
In fact, someone took the Ninety-Five Theses, translated them from Latin to German, and made copies using that brand new invention, the printing press. The ideas spread quickly, and the Reformation took hold.
To celebrate, you might take some time to learn about the Reformation and to learn the history behind the church you attend. The great highs and horrible lows of church history always remind me of a C. S. Lewis quote, from one of my favorite books, The Silver Chair: “‘You come of the Lord Adam and the Lady Eve,’ said Aslan. ‘And that is both honour enough to erect the head of the poorest beggar, and shame enough to bow the shoulders of the greatest emperor on earth. Be content.’”
“Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”
For those of you who can’t wait another day for your candy, October 30 is National Candy Corn Day. These small candies are traditionally orange, yellow and white, but you can actually find them just about year round with different colors for different holidays such as red and green reindeer corn at Christmas or red and pink cupid corn at Valentines Day.
Make some friends at the office today by putting a bowl of candy corn on your desk and wishing everyone a happy National Candy Corn Day. You’ll be the most popular guy/gal in the building!
“How sweet are your words to my taste,
sweeter than honey to my mouth!”
October 29 is Hermit Day, and I’m definitely celebrating! We’ve had a lot of stuff going on recently and some family came up for the weekend, so now I’m ready to relax . . . alone! Of course, not everyone likes to be alone, and sometimes those that do need to get out more (some weeks I need to preach this to myself), so handle this holiday with care.
The first hermits are a rather interesting bunch to me. Shortly after Christianity became legal, it started to become popular, and many religious men and women found that their times of prayer and meditation constantly interrupted. Some of them withdrew from society to worship in private. These were the first hermits.
They lived in caves and on mountains, in small huts in the woods and (my favorite) on top of columns. Yes, a few of these hermits got so fed up of people following them that they actually climbed pillars and lived there, away from the distractions and temptations on the ground. There they would fast and pray, sometimes for years at a time. Simeon the Stylite (the Elder) is said to have lived on a one square meter platform for thirty seven years, where children passed occasionally passed food to him.
After thinking about that for a bit, you might be grateful that this holiday only lasts for a day!
“But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.”
It seems that mother-in-laws get a pretty bad rap in our society. Mothers have a lot of pull, so they can definitely cause problems between spouses if they want to (see: “Everybody Loves Raymond” 🙂 ). On the other hand, you and your mother-in-law probably have something huge in common — you both love your spouse — and if love is not a good start to a relationship, I don’t know what is!
So, today, give your mother-in-law a call or take her out to lunch and wish her a happy Mother-In-Law Day!
Today’s verse is often used in weddings, but it was actually first spoken from Ruth to her mother-in-law Naomi:
“But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me.”
On the last Saturday in October, Make a Difference Day, people all around the U.S. gather in their communities for a “national day of doing good.” Organizers suggest activities such as
- “clean a beach,”
- “rake leaves, clean gutters, or prepare a meal for an elderly or disabled neighbor,”
- “organize a toy drive and donate your collection to a shelter for abused children,”
- “plant a community garden.”
Of course there are many, many more activities. You can check the Make a Difference Day website or facebook page for more tips and ideas. The trick is to find where your skills and interests meet a need in your community. If you’re having trouble coming up with something, friends and family are sometimes better judges of a someone’s skills than that person himself.
“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”
It’s time to release your inner wolf . . . or maybe just break out your five year old self’s joy of pretending (especially if it involves making fun animal noises!). October 26th is Worldwide Howl at the Moon Night.
This year, it’s not a full moon, but it’s getting close. Technically, the moon is waxing gibbous and won’t reach full until Monday, but that’s no reason to stop howling at it!
If you’re looking for some food after your nighttime yodeling, try a mincemeat tart. October 26th is also National Mincemeat Day! (I know it’s not a very common dish, but, trust me, it’s delicious!)
“When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
the son of man that you care for him?”