Today millions of children and adults will dress up as their favorite character, creature, or comic figure. For a few hours they will pretend to be something, or someone they are not. Scary music and movies will be playing, and three words will be repeated numerous times tonight by children of all ages, and adults accompanying them: Trick-or-Treat! There will be haunted houses, and houses that are decorated to give those attempting to approach the door for a treat, a potential trick. Or rather a scare. People will hide behind bushes, doors, and walls and shout “Boo!” as others walk by. There will be parties with games, and bobbing for apples, bean bag and ring tosses, and skeletons that hang from doors, windows’, and hallways. All this occurs today because, today is Halloween.
According to History.com Halloween began with the “ancient Celtic festival of Samhain about 2000 years ago. It was the beginning of their new year and they believed that the dead came back to life and would cause trouble.” History.com/halloweenhistory. History.com noted that “in 1000AD the church would make November 2 All Souls’ Day, a day to honor the dead. The All Saints Day celebration was also called All-hallows and from there transformed to Halloween.” Today most churches steer away from Halloween because of the secular reputation of celebrating the devil and evil creatures. Churches today offer celebrations called “Fall Festivals” and there are parameters around what costumes are allowed. Superstitions arose and have carried throughout the generations such as black cats, stepping on cracks that might break your mother’s back, braking mirrors that bring seven years of bad luck, and dead bones rising on Halloween.
Dead bones coming to life, we say superstition. But, there is a man that would challenge us. His name is Ezekiel. Ezekiel was a prophet that preached and lived during the years the Israelites were in captivity in Babylon. Ezekiel was God’s mouthpiece to warn them to change their ways, to warn about the impending destruction, and that the priests could not be counted on to protect God’s people. God himself would become their Shepherd and lead them. Ez. 1-34. In all the corruption, chaos, and carnality of the people God took Ezekiel to a Valley of Dry Bones, “He sat me down in the middle of the valley; it was full of bones.” Ez. 37:1 HCSB. Imagine, a real live Halloween scene. Ezekiel pens his conversation as God asks him, “Son of man, can these bones live?” Ez. 37:2 HCSB. With a question like that, we might think “no.” But, when God directly asks, you know he is not looking for “no.” So Ezekiel answers, “Only you know.” Ez. 37:3 HCSB. God then tells Ezekiel to speak to the bones, and command them to come to life. At that the bible tells us, “there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone.” Ez. 37:7 HCSB. Talk about a real life Halloween scene!
For those that have not recognized Jesus as their savior and put their trust, hope, and faith in Him, and for those that have, but may have walked away; is that how God sees them, and us, as dry bones? Is it Halloween everyday? Israel had turned their backs, lost hope, went their own way, and left God out of the equation. I like to think the Valley of the Dry Bones as God’s Halloween scene where he tells us, all is not lost. We are not really dead, and He alone holds the power to turn things around. If you are out and about today, and among all the Halloween decorations see a skeleton, say as you walk by “Breathe.” For that is what God does to us, when we follow Him. He “put breath into them, and they came to life and stood on their feet, a vast army.” Ex. 37:10 HCSB. He opened their graves and brought them up. He did away with the old and gave new. He will do the same for us – do away with the old, and give us a new life.
Awake Dead Bones! Awake! Breathe.
*picture by fanpop