Many limit the Christmas connection with the dead as merely something from the imagination of Charles Dickens.
As Scrooge is haunted by Marley he encounters many of the dead from his family and youth – and that has a huge connection to all that was sacred to those who celebrated the ancient Christmas.
Halloween in many parts of the world is actually a celebration of two or three days. There is All Hallow’s Eve (Halloween), Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), and Dia de los Santos (Day of the Saints).
Some Christians mistaken these days as a scary or even an evil connection to Satan. This is a false notion.
Fear and faith are polar opposites and these days of recognition of the dead have much more to do with faith than of fear.
The meaning of the word “hallow” is to make sacred – or to honor as holy.
This is how people ancient felt about their dead family members.
These days of Halloween are a time when the dead are remembered, honored and prayed over before the season of light, hope and redemption known as Christmas begins.
The Apostle Matthew recorded “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: when as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost”.
The Apostle Luke, in the Bible, renders a more plain meaning to the divine conception of Christ: “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God”.
The power of the Highest is what separates Christ from any other mortal.
Joseph and Mary had been reared with ancient scripture and knew what these things meant.
When Mary was told the Baby’s name would be Jesus she understood the significance of that name: The Hebrew root from which it was derived, Jehoshua, means “Jehovah is salvation”.
Joseph and Mary, indeed, many anciently knew that Jehovah was the Creator of all things, the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – the Holy One of Israel.
When the Great God of the Universe condescended to be born of mortal woman, He submitted Himself to the infirmities of mortality, to “suffer temptations, and pain of body, hunger, thirst, and fatigue, even more than man can suffer, except it be unto death”.
These infirmities He inherited from His mortal mother.
But because His father was God, Jesus Christ had powers which no human had before or since. He was God in the flesh—even the Son of God. These powers enabled Him to accomplish miracles, signs, wonders, the great Atonement, and the Resurrection—all of which are additional marks of His divinity.
It is because of Christ that people honor and even revere the dead. In the Book of Psalms it says “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints”.
How and why can this be?
The very mission of Christ and God is to “bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man”.
Nowhere is this more evident in the celebration of Christmas than through the symbol of the Christmas tree – which is really just an extension of Christ being the “tree of life” or that all humans live with the hope of eternal life.
Christ himself taught of this many times. “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world”. (Matthew 25:34).
Christ taught this in His ministry. When Jairus, a leader of the synagogue, approached Jesus because his “little daughter lieth at the point of death” Christ lovingly taught Jairus about the true nature of death. “The damsel is not dead,” He said before even seeing the girl. “But sleepeth”.
Watch this transpire in this video:
Human beings, in other words, were never intended to “be dead”. There is more after this life. And if there is more after this life those who have gone on remain sacred and important to us.
That would suggest this was the plan all along. It would likewise tie together the many lost or corrupted ancient scriptures that still surface today about God’s plan for his children – that this life here on Earth is not all, that death is not really the end.
These things give one pause to contemplate when taken in context with other things in the Bible. Consider now what Moses meant when he came down from Mt. Sinai and taught the ten commandments, which include “Honor thy father and thy mother, that they days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee”.
It means something different, doesn’t it, when taken in context with the doctrine of eternal life?
It has always been this way. It was designed to be this way.
The Old Testament prophet Malachi put it into words when associating the living and the dead in families: “…and he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers…” (Malachi 4:6)
Days of honoring cherished family, the Birth of Christ and his victory over death are all connected. No wonder it is a time of festivity and great joy.