In just a few hours, little draculas, zombies, aliens and hobgoblins will be prowling the streets at nightfall extorting candy from innocent victims who are not safe, even while ensconced in the shelter of their own homes. These menacing little beings promise cruel tricks unless their demands are met. There is no “please” from these potential vandals, simply an order to comply–or pay the consequences.
Cute holiday, huh?
According to Celtic tradition “All Hallow’s Evening” (shortened centuries ago to ‘hallowe’en’) is the end of the ‘dark half’ of the year and the one night during which the separation of the two worlds–the natural and the supernatural–is thinnest and when hostile spiritual beings like ghosts and goblins are free to roam the earth and interact with mankind in mostly violent fashion. If there was any night of the year when demonic jubilation was strongest, as the tradition holds, it was always found on Halloween.
The Welsh refer to it as “Spirit Night.” Detroit calls it “Hell Night.” Witches refer to it as THE Great Sabbath. Everything associated with it is divination, demonic, evil, death and darkness.
Go back with me twenty centuries to the Upper Room on the “eve” of the Christ’s crucifixion. Jesus told Judas on that e’en (actually He was addressing the satan who had entered into Judas) that whatever mission he was on, he’d best do “quickly” (John 13:29) because this was the end of the ‘dark half’ when the separation of the two kingdoms was thinnest and the evil one’s final night to do his menacing work. And the clock was ticking down. Judas bolted from the table and dashed out into the gathering gloom. Verse 30 adds this evocative phrase: “and it was night.”
That single statement paints with bleakened tones and Gothic brushstrokes what was going on in that room that Passover night: Jesus, saddened to see his friend go, the disciples perplexed by recent developments, Judas’ sealing his own doom, the mood suffocating.
“And it was night…”
I believe the night that shrouded the Upper Room was as dark as on that night as when it was actually felt in the Garden after our Original Parent’s rebellion. It was spiritual night, oppressive and hopeless. I can see Messiah staring at the doorway–after his friend–for a few solemn moments. Then, amazingly, I see Him turn to face the addled expressions of those who remained and draw a meaningful breath. The very next words He utters transcend the somber cloud hanging in the room.
“Now is the Son of Man glorified and the Father glorified in Him!”
In almost a single breath, John’s gospel moves from “it was night” to “Praise God! His Kingdom triumphs over darkness because His Son is its King! Glory!” One can almost hear the gas leaking out of the netherworld’s coming-out party like a deflating balloon at that precise moment…and it continues to this day! There’re no parties in hell no matter what Halloween tradition says. The satan’s kingdom operates in wrath, not jubilation, angry that the Son is now and forevermore glorified.
Remember that on this last day of October.
Maybe Linus should come out with this speech on the Peanuts’ Halloween special.