Today we celebrate All Saints’ Day, one of the seven Principal Feasts of the Church. Thinking back to my childhood, here’s what I remember about All Saints’ Day:
- It was the day after Halloween.
- It was the day before my brother’s birthday.
- We sang I Sing a Song of the Saints of God at church on Sunday. I loved that hymn!
Other than that, I don’t recall much about it. Celebrating Saints certainly doesn’t get as much play as celebrating costumes, candy and Halloween. But what if it did? What if instead of dressing up as various people, animals, and items, we dressed up as saints? What if we gave All Saints’ Day as much attention as we give Halloween?
If you were to dress up as a saint, you’d have lots of different kinds of people to choose from. You could dress up as a saint from the Bible, like Michael, Mary Magdalene, or Paul. Perhaps you’d choose one of Jesus’ apostles, like Simon and Jude, who we just celebrated a few days ago.
But you don’t have to limit yourself to Biblical saints. Martin Luther King, C. S. Lewis, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton are among the saints celebrated each year in The Episcopal Church. You’ll find saints representing different ethnicities and careers, from different generations. Some were kings, some were political leaders; others were priests or nuns. Many were ordinary people who found the courage and strength to do extraordinary things.
All of the saints share something: they did something remarkable or extraordinary in the name of God. Some gave their lives in the name of Christ. Some gave their lives so that others could know the freedom to worship God the way we do today. It’s easy to forget that people couldn’t always go to church and sing hymns like I Sing a Song of the Saints of God, or any other hymn.
Because it’s easy to forget is exactly why we celebrate All Saints’ Day – so that we can remember. We tell the stories of these women and men as we tell our own stories and understand they we are their legacy. We can remember the saints on their own individual feast days; that’s a good practice. Grow Christians keeps you informed of feast days; visit our archives to brush up on ways to celebrate saints with major feast days. But there are many more on the calendar!
Perhaps a saint’s feast day is on your birthday, or your child’s birthday. Sharing a feast day on or near a birthday, or even a half birthday, provides an easy, personal connection with the saints. Another activity is to create saint shields for a procession in church on the Sunday closest to All Saints’ Day. Lent Madness offers a fun, competitive way to learn more about saints. You can certainly learn more about the saints by reading about them, watching videos staring saints, and talking about them with your family at home and at church.
While All Saints’ Day will likely never get as much attention as Halloween, we have lots to celebrate today. We hold this day sacred to remind us that we are all saints, connected as the body of Christ, and we rejoice as we honor that connection today. As we learn more about these special people, we can discover ways that we can deepen our devotion to following the path behind Jesus. All of the saints have following Jesus in common – including us.
Almighty God, you have knit together your elect in one communion and fellowship in the mystical body of your Son Christ our Lord: Give us grace so to follow your blessed saints in all virtuous and godly living, that we may come to those ineffable joys that you have prepared for those who truly love you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.
Does your family observe All Saints’ Day? How?